Here's the deal with South Korea. 😨
In my humble opinion...
the world is no good without rock 'n roll.
— Heidi (@blockchainchick) January 15, 2018
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We woke up to some serious losses in the market (we're looking at between 10-40% across the board). Should you be worried?
If you opened your Coinbase account this morning and felt the familiar wave of Volatility SicknesssTM, you weren't alone. Very few tokens are doing well, and it's all thanks to South Korea. Well, mostly thanks to them. The big news right now is that...there is none – the uncertainty around cryptocurrency regulation in Korea is causing a lot of people to wonder if we're starting to see the end of crypto's Asian dominance. Several articles yesterday announced that the South Korean government would decide whether or not to shut down cryptocurrency exchanges and other extensions of the industry (mining, trading, owning, etc.) after "sufficient consultation." This is causing a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) because South Korea hosts a significant percentage of the world's crypto trading, and its citizens are some of the most intense traders in the world – ever heard of "Bitcoin Zombies'?
To quickly recap, South Korea's government has been all over the place with cryptocurrencies. The Justice Minister of Korea is pretty anti-crypto, exemplified best by his premature announcement last week that the government was actively working on legislation that would include a total blackout of crypto across the country. Naturally, this led to a bit of a market meltdown and a domestic political feud. There's now an internal battle, with both media and politicians accusing each other of either market manipulation or raiding cryptocurrency exchanges (the latter of which is still up in the air).
Crypto is getting to a new level of enormity – what does this mean for South Korea and government legislation as a whole?
Our take (and our sources agree with us) is still that South Korea likely won't go through with a total ban. A more likely scenario involves harsher government regulations, or some kind of centralized identification index could be in store for cryptocurrency users in 2018. Nonetheless, new crypto exchanges are scrambling to launch in South Korea thanks to the insane profit these companies can make hosting token trading. In fact, the average daily commission profit on websites such as Upbit, a popular Korean exchange, is estimated to be at around 3.6 billion won (3.3 million USD). Late in 2017, it was announced that no new foreign accounts on Korean exchanges could be opened, and there's a significant fine for users who refuse to provide personal identification data. The tokens that were hit the hardest by last night's news? Bitcoin Gold, Verge, ReddCoin, and SmartCash.
It's surprisingly easy to manipulate the cryptocurrency market, especially when it's relatively "small" right now. It was recently discovered that a single person was likely responsible for Bitcoin's jump from $150 to $1,000 in 2013 (could it have been Spoofy, the notorious crypto manipulator who's been haunting exchanges for several years?). Another more significant question is if exchanges can successfully delegate the enormous amount of power they have. Bittrex recently delisted two semi-popular altcoins, Mysterium and APX, without providing much of an explanation – although it sounds like the exchange is starting to remove tokens that have not executed the project they're supposed to be running. It seems as if the whitepaper ICO may indeed be dying.
Ethereum's founder, Vitalik Buterin, left his part-time gig at the investment firm Fenbushi Capital to spend more time on ETH's platform.
Good problems: Israel's first Bitcoin ATM had to shut down due to overwhelming demand.
Over 80% of Bitcoin's total supply has been mined. Soon after, the supply will decrease due to people losing or accidentally destroying them. Time to wait.
Coin to Watch
As per usual, we're going to treat this market environment as an opportunity. SpankChain (SPANK) is an incredibly exciting project, focusing on eliminating third parties and unfair payment practices in the adult entertainment industry. Check out the full project here.