Perhaps the biggest news in the fourth week of January is that Apollo (APL) was accused by members of the crypto community of being a pump-and-dump scam. Redditors alleged Apollo is a scheme to make founder Steve McCullah rich. Apollo is a coin project that advertises itself as the world's fastest, most private coin. Its marketing materials promise smart contracts, file sharing, voting, decentralized exchanges, etc. The community claimed wallet addresses were moving APL tokens onto exchanges to sell and claimed the Apollo Foundation was behind them. The Apollo team responded that they operate with transparency and are not selling APL on exchanges. The controversy has yet to be resolved.
Here is the rest of the week in review:
LocalBitcoins announced on its forum that a phishing attack was identified on Saturday. LocalBitcoins is peer-to-peer decentralized website where individuals can trade Bitcoin (BTC) without central clearing. An attacker created a fake copy of the LocalBitcoins website and managed to trick at least 6 customers out of 8 BTC. The phishing attack pretended to log users out and then asked them to login. The attacker then withdrew BTC from the users' accounts. LocalBitcoins suspended trading, announced they stopped the attack, and resumed trading on Sunday. The attackers have not been identified.
Harvard University, New America, and Levi Strauss are announced they won a grant for a cooperative project to improve labor welfare. The university, think tank, and apparel firm won a $800,000 grant from the US State Department to develop a blockchain that will track the labor conditions of factory workers. The blockchain system will be developed by ConsenSys and debut its pilot on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. ConsenSys cofounder Joseph Lubin stated that the goal is to create a system that can empower workers, suppliers, and consumers to make more informed decisions about factory conditions and product brands. The first phase starts by tracking Levi factories employing 5,000 workers, and the second phase of the pilot is scheduled for 2020.
Crypto prices traded in a tight range this week, ending around $118 billion. The majors fell slightly thanks to a lack of uplifting news. In the top 100, the biggest losers are Apollo Currency (APL), down 47%, Bitcoin Private (BTCP), down 31%, and Energi (NRG), down 27%. The biggest gainers are Nasdacoin (NSD), up 47%, Blocknet (BLOCK), up 40%, and PRIZM (PZM), up 22%. The majors have been trading in a small range for about a week, so a new bout of volatility could be coming.
The author owns a small amount of BTC.