The fourth week of November has been exciting for the cryptocurrency markets. Perhaps the biggest news is that the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) will delay the launch of its Bitcoin (BTC) futures trading platform until January 24, 2019. The platform, called Bakkt, was first announced in August by a partnership of big companies. CEO Kelly Loeffler stated that new processes, risks, and mitigants caused Bakkt to postpone its launch date. Bakkt has not yet received regulatory approval from US authorities. Bakkt has announced new features including a secure cryptocurrency warehouse and insurance for coins in cold storage and hot wallets. Since its inception, Bakkt has been widely seen as a monumental step for institutional adoption.
Here is the rest of the week in review:
The state of Ohio has become the first US state to accept BTC for tax payments. This week, businesses can register at a new website named OhioCrypto.com. Ohio has partnered with crypto payments startup BitPay to process transactions and conversions from BTC to dollars. Payable taxes in BTC include corporate sales taxes, employee withholding taxes, and more. The initiative is the brainchild of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who hopes that other states will follow Ohio's lead and legitimize BTC. The move is part of an ongoing effort by Ohio to rebrand the state into a new hub for tech and blockchain, especially in the booming cities of Columbus and Cleveland.
A new Bloomberg report reveals that the US Department of Justice has begun investigating if last year's historic crypto rally was spurred by manipulation regarding the controversial Tether (USDT) stablecoin. The criminal probe has reportedly narrowed to focus on relationships between Bitcoin, Tether, and the Bitfinex exchange that might have illegally influenced prices. Some traders and academics have long alleged that Bitfinex and Tether print USDT to buy crypto during dips. A recent University of Texas paper claims that half of Bitcoin's 1,400 percent gain was due to Tether buying BTC at critical movements. The question for the Justice Department is whether genuine demand or market manipulation caused last year's price growth. Spokespeople for the Justice Department have refused to publicly comment on the investigation.
Crypto prices plummeted sharply for the second straight week. BTC tested its 200-week moving average. Market cap fell to a low under $115 billion before slightly recovering on Sunday. In the top 100, the biggest losers are Metaverse ETP (ETP), down 63 percent, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), down 52 percent, and Nasdacoin (NSD), down 51 percent. The biggest gainers are PRIZM (PZM), up 59 percent, Factom (FCT), up 18 percent, and Unobtanium (UNO), up 16 percent. If the crypto markets keep breaking through key support levels, then stop losses will trigger deeper pain.
The author owns a small amount of BTC.