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European Cryptocurrency Markets Welcome Binance Exchange
One of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges based on volume is expanding into the European market. With the new Binance platform, which offers fiat-to-cryptocurrency trading options, performs more than US $700 million in trades on a daily basis. Binance's European exchange will be called Binance Jersey and is designed specifically for fiat-to-crypto trading for the British pound and Euro. Users will have the ability to purchase both Ethereum and Bitcoin through the exchange. Binance Jersey will require users to follow KYC (Know Your Customer) verification to begin trading. Once the KYC process is complete, users will have the option to trade pairs such as BTC/EUR, BTC/GBP, ETH/EUR, and ETH/GBP.

Ethereum Hard Fork Fanfare Diminished as Vulnerability is Discovered
The upcoming hard fork on the Ethereum network has been delayed after a vulnerability in the code was discovered which would make it possible for malicious actor to steal funds through manipulation of smart contract architecture. The upcoming Ethereum hard fork, which was supposed to happen today (January 16th) has been postponed at the eleventh hour, after a vulnerability in the code was discovered. This vulnerability, if exploited, would allow malicious actors to repeatedly siphon ETH out of a smart contract through a bug similar to that which led to the DAO hack. As Ethereum, eventually through the implementation of the Constantinople upgrade, will transition from a proof-of-work to proof-of-stake consensus model, a number of updates need to be implemented which will slowly bring about this transition. The update scheduled for this month was a step in this process, reducing the mining reward for Ethereum miners.

Jimmy Song: Bitcoin Is A Tool For Peaceful Revolution
People use cryptocurrencies for many different things, legal and illegal. However, Jimmy Song says that Bitcoin can be used to promote peaceful revolutions. Jimmy Song is a bitcoin educator, entrepreneur and core developer of the Bitcoin Blockchain. He has also recently released his new book, called Programming Bitcoin. In an interview with RT's business host Max Keiser, Song said that there would be a lot of cool things happening to Bitcoin during 2019. One of them is the lightning network that will among other things allow instant transactions. Keiser suggested that bitcoin is a currency of resistance. Economic models around the world are not working as well as they should, and the result is revolutions. In France, the Yellow Vests are roaming the streets because of raised taxes and are violently fighting the government. Yellow vest activists are now urging French citizens to empty their bank accounts. They want to spark a massive run on French banks in their fight with the government. Interestingly, people in France wore yellow vests with bitcoin on the back.  Song argues that the biggest thing bitcoin brings the ability to decentralise monetary power. He says:

Rapper Akon Launches his own Cryptocurrency, to be Used in Akon Crypto City - Toshi Times
While the glory days of African-born rapper Akon might be in the past, he produced no less than 12 Billboard Top Ten Hits nonetheless, cementing his name into the pages of music history. It seems that Akon has turned the page on his music career and moved into the crypto waters, as he announced the creation of his own digital currency Akoin?, which will be used in his new Akon Crypto City in Senegal, the country of his descent. Akon, whose real name is Aliaume Thiam, hopes that virtual currency and blockchain technology could be the savior for Africa in many ways?, especially due to its high level of security and decentralization that empowers the people instead of governments.

Are We Headed for a Bitcoin Bull Cycle in 2019
Over the last day, we've seen the cryptocurrency market rebound by more than $4 billion, with Bitcoin out front as it moved past $3,700. Many other digital currencies like TRON and Ethereum also showed large gains as each rose by more than three percent against BTC. Even if we continue to see the price of Bitcoin and other digital currencies decline, there are those within the market who expect that the market will recover in a big way before the end of the 2019 calendar year. Typically, those in the cryptocurrency industry view the correction of digital assets to extend throughout the first six months of 2019. Bitcoin has had trouble gaining traction in the market since November 2017, struggling to move past key resistance points in the range of $5,000 to $6,000.

Trump's Government Shutdown is Shutting Down Bakkt Crypto Progress
The current US government shutdown is taking its toll on everything including cryptocurrencies and their adoption. Donald Trump's government shutdown has now begun its 24th day after breaking the record for the longest shutdown in US history three days ago. The president's deadlock with congress over funding allocation for his pet border wall project with Mexico shows no signs of abating any time soon either, in a situation which is threatening the day to day financial security of hundreds of thousands of Americans. The reality of the shutdown is that certain government institutions aren't functioning; their employees can't go to work and no one is getting paid. Whilst the work is not getting done, backlogs in all sorts of areas are emerging. Wallstreet is one are where this is happening.

Crypto Exchange Cryptopia Hacked, Reports Major Losses
Hackers have succeeded again. This time the victim was the famous cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia. The exchange confirms the security breach and reports that the losses are significant. The New-Zeeland based cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia has suffered a major security breach. Hackers were able to steal a significant amount of money. The exchange just announced it on social media via Twitter. The hack occurred yesterday, January 14th 2019, and the exchange report that the losses are significant. Cryptopia did not mention a specific amount. However, according to a transaction on Etherscan 19, 390 ETH got moved from Cryptopia's wallet to an unknown address. The value of the transaction was more than $2,5 million. Even though we cannot confirm that this is the hackers doing, it is highly suspicious.

Winklevoss Twins Call for Crypto Regulations, Says Bitcoin Can Overtake Gold
The bearish sentiment currently characterizing the cryptocurrency markets may dissuade some investors, but not Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. The two are now suggesting that digital currency has a bright future ahead as long as it is properly regulated. Formerly of Facebook notoriety following their legal feud with Mark Zuckerberg the twins are now best known for Gemini. For those unaware, Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange platform launched by the two. The Winklevosses have also long been outspoken Bitcoin supporters. They are now, however, branching out beyond the core Gemini activity in an effort to launch a campaign promoting cryptocurrency regulations.

Major Swiss Bank Begins Offering Crypto Custody
One of Switzerland's major investment banks, Vontobel, has begun offering a cryptocurrency custody package, aimed at banks and asset managers. Vontobel, one of Switzerland's largest investment banks, with a multimillion-dollar valuation has announced on the 14th of January that it is now offering a custody solution to its customers, aimed at intermediaries such as banks and asset managers. This is significant for the industry as Vontobel is the third largest financial custodian in the country with a reported value of more than 110 billion CHF / 112 billion dollars. Custody is basically about being able to guarantee the safeguarding of digital assets. As many crypto investors have discovered to their cost over the years, malicious actors are a constant threat to the safety of cryptocurrency holdings and significant technical solutions are necessary to provide adequate protection for digital assets.

Redditor: Tron Mislead Developers In $1 Million Dapp Contest
Tron recently held a $1 million blockchain dapp development contest, and many think it was just a trick. Is that the case or was it a real competition The dapp platform held an accelerator competition from the 1st of December to the 4th of January. Tron wrote the following about the competition: TRON Accelerator is a $1 million program aiming to empower developers and foster innovation within the blockchain industry. Developer teams are invited to submit their decentralised application project and build on the protocol. The developers will compete for one of the most ambitious Blockchain hackathons ever hosted.

Outspoken US Congresswoman and Crypto Investor is Running for President
Tulsi Gabbard is a member of the US Congress who is known to be a pioneer within various fields. She is both the first Hindu member of Congress, as well as the legislative body's first Samoan-American. Gabbard is now making waves with a recent reveal that she is about to launch a presidential campaign. Gabbard, who is a Democrat, made this announcement on The Van Jones Show on CNN this past Friday. I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement next week, Gabbard noted in the interview. Gabbard has previously been a part of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), but resigned from the DNC in 2016 in order to endorse Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Gabbard is also known for proposing unorthodox approaches to foreign policy.

What is Monero
Monero is a private, secure, and untraceable cryptocurrency. It is open-sourced and free to anyone who wants to use it. With Monero, you control your funds, and no one can trace your transactions. The coin is not owned by any one institution, authority, or entity. However, it does have a core team that manages, develops, and maintains it. With Monero, you're getting a currency that focuses on anonymous transactions. The cryptocurrency creates a private, censorless token which is used to transfer value throughout the globe. With a powerful yet private protocol called CryptoNote, the Monero cryptocurrency has shown that valuable transactions can remain private.

SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Highlights Cryptocurrency as Focus Point in 2019
Regulations pertaining to cryptocurrencies have been notoriously slow during 2018. Although some countries have attempted to fast-track cryptocurrency-friendly regulations in efforts to stimulate innovation and adoption, many nations remain reluctant to do so. However, it would appear that the US might be moving closer towards cryptocurrency regulations at least slowly. In fact, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the US? Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now labeling cryptocurrencies one of its focus points during 2019. This news comes in a recent OCIE report, entitled 2019 Examination Priorities. Put simply, this document calls for increased focus and attention towards the cryptocurrency industry and market. The cryptocurrency industry is one of the OCIE's six focus points for 2019.

Recently Activated Bitcoin Whale Wallets Projected to Cause Market Upheaval
Analysts are now believing that the price of Bitcoin could soon see significant action. Specifically, the notion that cryptocurrency traders may be in for an unstable period is based on an uptick in the number of active Bitcoin wallets. This news comes in a fresh piece from Bloomberg. Moreover, the article is based on data and analyses done by the cryptocurrency analytics startup firm Flipside Crypto. Flipside Crypto is known to be backed by venture capital firm Digital Currency Group, as well as the major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. Put simply, the article notes that a large number of previously dormant Bitcoin wallets have become active lately. Flipside Crypto reports that cryptocurrency wallets that have been active over the last month are now holding approximately 60% of the total circulating Bitcoin supply.

Wyoming Passes Two Blockchain Bills in Optimistic Look to the Future
The US state of Wyoming has passed two bills which aim to help foster blockchain development of the technology within the state. Afterthe US mid-term elections in November, ToshiTimes reported on some of thepro-crypto politicians rated by the Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA) as being very crypto friendly who had seensuccess. One mentioned was Mark Gordon who was successful in his bid to becomegovernor of Wyoming and many have been watching with excitement to see what theelection of this politician to office will mean for the local cryptocurrencyand blockchain industry. Justbefore the weekend, two tweets on January 10th and 11th, from Caitlin Long, presidentof the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition, seemed to bring goodnews about the direction the wind is blowing in in the state. Two bills havebeen passed which in essence incentivise blockchain businesses to set up shopin the state.

Federal Reserve: Altcoins Drags The Price Of Bitcoin Down
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louise released an article saying that bitcoin has two potential futures. To grow indefinitely or to disappear. They think the outcome will be in-between. Predictions for bitcoin are released regularly, but the truth is that no one knows since not even the federal reserve can predict the future. Many industry leaders and investors are bullish when it comes to cryptocurrencies and bitcoin. Tim Draper predicts a price per bitcoin around $250,000 around the year 2022. Thomas Lee is a bit more modest and stated that fair future value would be around $150,000 per coin. However, he said that a fair value right now is over $13,000 per coin. Sonny Singh revealed that an approval of a bitcoin ETF is determined the value of bitcoin. He said that an ETF could bring the value of bitcoin back over $20,000.

Biggest Cryptocurrency Exchanges in Korea and Japan Officially Receive Approval
The cryptocurrency community has reason to celebrate as South Korea's Internet and Security Agency (KISA) gave it's leading cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb, a very important certification. Additionally, Coincheck, Japan's largest exchange, registered with the country's Financial Services Agency. South Korea's biggest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb received certification for Security Management Systems. This certification was given to the exchange from the country's Internet and Security Agency and is the highest such system certification available to South Korean businesses. All cryptocurrency exchanges operating in South Korea are required to earn this certification by law. Currently, these exchanges earn nearly $9 million. Even with its newly minted certification, Bithumb says it will continue to focus its efforts on making its exchange more secure.

Bitwise: 2019 Will Be The Year A Bitcoin ETF Gets Approved
The crypto asset management firm Bitwise files for yet another bitcoin ETF proposal for Security and Exchange Commision (SEC) to review. The new proposal is fully compliant with the SEC's regulatory guidelines. Exchanges have tried to make the dream of a bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) reality, but no one has succeeded so far. The SEC has rejected all earlier attempts since the ETFs did not meet the regulatory framework among other reasons. According to the CEO of the crypto start-up Abra, SEC will not approve an ETF because it does not fit the industry norm. The SEC will approve, postpone or rejecting the ETF from VanEck and SolidX by February. However, The SEC commissioner Hester Pierce argued that an ETF could be approved tomorrow or it could take years. Lawyers are not very positive either. Jake Chervinsky, a lawyer at the Kobre and Kim law firm, suggested that it will not be approved. Chervinsky stated that the exchange-traded product as a concept is currently in trouble. He expanded on the issue, arguing that the cryptocurrency market might not be ready for an ETF as of yet. The most recent statement from a lawyer was that an ETF would most likely not be accepted even though the US government is shut down.

Indian Banks Requiring Customers to Sign Contract Not to Use Cryptocurrencies
India has taken a notoriously cryptocurrency-averse stance. Last April saw the country adopt new Reserve Bank of India-led measures which prohibited banks from processing cryptocurrency purchases. Now, however, it would appear that this crackdown is continuing in an even more aggressive manner. New reports are alleging that banks are now requiring customers to sign contracts promising not to use cryptocurrencies. Moreover, such contracts are reportedly part of users new terms of service agreement, which makes agreeing crucial for bank customers. In a way, this new measure is forcing customers to choose between cryptocurrencies and the traditional banking system.

Moving Forward With Crypto-Assets in the European Union
When it comes to cryptocurrency and fitting into the existing framework of regulations, a lot of countries are having to rework how their financial systems handle such business models and their approach to crypto-assets. The ESMA is needing to the same. Many securities organizations have their hands in cryptocurrency, desperately trying to regulate it for investor protection, but investors are resistant to this control. The appeal of cryptocurrency is its decentralization and investing in crypto-assets is growing more rapidly than anyone thought it would. Considering the benefits and risks cryptocurrency may introduce, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) continues to work with National Competent Authorities (NCA). Yesterday, the ESMA published advice to European Union (EU) institutions including Commission, Council, and Parliament based on initial coin offerings and other crypto-assets.

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