Perhaps biggest news of the first week of 2018 is that Bakkt has raised $182 million in its first round. The cryptocurrency startup owned by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) included 12 partners and raised $182.5 million from Boston Consulting Group, Galaxy Digital, Goldfinch Partners, ICE, M12, Pantera Capital, and Protocol Ventures. Bakkt is working on the first institutional-grade regulated exchange, as well as clearing and warehousing services that allow physical delivery and storage of coins. The January 24 launch of Bakkt's Bitcoin (BTC) futures market has been delayed again, due to continuing talks with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, but Bakkt plans to disclose the new launch date soon.
Here is the rest of the week in review:
Beam launched its cryptocurrency on January 3. The new project is the first released to implement the MimbleWimble privacy protocol. MimbleWimble is a method that can help make transactions more anonymous and untraceable through hiding transaction amounts and the addresses of senders and receivers. Beam also uses Dandelion, a technology that randomizes the pathways on a decentralized network. Beam aims to allow users to have complete control over which personal data will be available to which parties. Another MimbleWimble-based competitor, Grin, will debut its coin on January 15. Neither Beam nor Grin plan to conduct an initial coin offering (ICO), instead funding themselves through donations and nonprofit development.
The government of Thailand recently developed a blockchain solution to voting that is able to reform elections in that country. The Bangkok Post reported on Thursday that Thailand's National Electronics and Computer Technology Center finished developing its blockchain-based voting system. The government ministry is now searching for partners to try the technology for local elections and university experiments. The goal of the ministry's software is to cut down on electoral fraud and maintain data integrity. Voters will need an accessible mobile Internet connection and digital identification to use the blockchain voting system.
Crypto prices traded in a tight range before a small weekend boost to reach $138 billion. BTC topped $4,000, and Ethereum (ETH) rose above $155. In the top 100, the biggest losers are BridgeCoin (BCO), down 17 percent, BOScoin (BOS), down 13 percent, and SmartCash (SMART), down 10 percent. The biggest gainers are FLO (FLO), up 41 percent, Litecoin (LTC), up 24 percent, and Peercoin (PPC), up 23 percent. Exactly a year after the all-time high market capitalization, investors are looking to see if crypto can break out of making lower highs and lower lows into real bullish momentum.
The author owns a small amount of BTC and LTC.