Crypto Tidbits: Bitcoin Plunges to $9,500, $45m BCH SIM Swap, IRS Focused on Cryptocurrency

Another week, another round of Crypto Tidbits. Wow, the past seven days have been quite the trip for Bitcoin, to say the least. After peaking at $10,500 last week, the price of the leading cryptocurrency plunged to $9,700, bounced to $10,300, then took a few hours to crash from that level to $9,250, liquidating hundreds of millions worth of leveraged positions in the process.
The weekly data has echoed Bitcoin’s questionable performance. Per data from Coin360, BTC is down 2.6% in the past week. Altcoins, however, (save for Ethereum and Litecoin and a few other projects) have fared even worse: for instance, the two leading Bitcoin forks are down over 10% apiece and XRP has shed 10%.

Aside from the tumultuous market, the underlying cryptocurrency industry saw a relatively productive week, with there being a number of news stories showing the growth and adoption of these technologies, though others casting light on issues in crypto.
Related Reading: Crypto Tidbits: Bitcoin Slides Under $10,000, JP Morgan & Ethereum, and the US’ Cryptocurrency Crackdown
Bitcoin & Crypto Tidbits

Coronavirus May Push China to Launch Crypto, Says Ex-Banking Official: Per an article from China Daily — a newspaper owned by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China — Lihui Li, a former president of the Bank of China, said that the coronavirus epidemic unfolding will likely accelerate a national digital currency or national crypto. Li purportedly added that a digital currency from the PBOC is likely to benefit retail businesses by decreasing costs and increasing the efficiency of transactions. This was echoed by Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China. He said at a news conference held on Saturday that the central bank is going to accelerate its work in the mobile payment field. Bitcoin was not mentioned by these authorities.
Bitcoin Fixes This: Danish Bank Introduces Negative Interest Rate: Bitwise’s Hunter Horsley recently shared the below image, showing that clients of Danish investment bank Saxo Bank will soon be subject to negative interest rates. All clients holding cash in EUR, CHF, or DKK will be subject to an annual rate of 0% to -3%. This means that if you’re in the worst bracket of -3%, a $10,000 deposit will see you lose $300. Saxo Bank, backing this decision, cited the European Central Bank’s decision to lower its policy deposit rate to -0.5% to stimulate the economy. Many see Bitcoin as an alternative to cash accounts because some suggest it has store-of-value properties, offering no yield but being a disinflationary asset whose value is mainly derived from scarcity.

Saxo Bank sending an email informing the client they will start *charging* to hold cash in deposit accounts.
0-3% fee to hold cash.
What a time to be alive — pic.twitter.com/JC4vTia3XQ
— Hunter Horsley (@HHorsley) February 21, 2020

Coinbase Becomes Visa Principal Member: Announced in a blog post published Wednesday, Coinbase has become the ” first pure-play crypto company to be approved as a Visa principal member.” This means that moving forward, Coinbase’s crypto-enabled cards will involve better customer experience, “making it easier to spend cryptocurrency in everyday situations.”
Mining Startup Begins Massive Bitcoin Operation In Texas: In a press statement shared with industry outlet The Block, Layer1 revealed that it has officially launched its Bitcoin mining operation in Texas, purportedly bringing online several containers that have a 2.5-megawatt capacity each. The exact extent of the farm wasn’t disclosed, though the statement mentioned that Layer1 is likely to control 2% of the entire Bitcoin network’s hash rate in the coming months. By the end of 2021, Layer1 wants to control 30% of all of Bitcoin’s hash rate through the Texas site and others they have control over.
IRS Ramps Up Crypto Efforts:  According to an IRS communique received by Bloomberg Tax, the IRS is calling upon crypto companies and executives to convene at a March 3rd summit that will discuss how the tax agency can “balance taxpayer service with regulatory enforcement.” The summit will purportedly involve at least four panels, during which information will be shared about crypto exchanges, compliance, and tax returns. This comes shortly after Steven Mnuchin, the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, said in a hearing held by the Senate Finance Committee last week that the FinCEN branch of the Treasury will soon roll out “significant new requirements” for entities working with Bitcoin and other digital assets.
Serenity Is Actively Being Developed, Ethereum Creator Confirms: Vitalik Buterin, the original creator of the blockchain, recently confirmed that the development of Ethereum 2.0 (or Serenity) is going on well. Buterin, during his speech at a recent event mentioned his thoughts on Ethereum 2.0, expressing optimism about the timeline for this blockchain upgrade, which will likely be the biggest upgrade or change made to any blockchain system, ever:
[I] definitely think ETH2.0 has been proceeding quite quickly and regularly in the last few months.
A member of the team researching and developing ETH 2.0, Justin Drake, wrote in a recent Reddit “Ask me Anything” regarding Ethereum that he has “95% confidence we launch in 2020.”
SIM Swap Hack Sees Whale Lose $45 Million: According to a post published to the “BTC” subreddit by a user going by “Zhoujianfu,” they have just been hacked for a large sum of both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The addresses attached to the post, confirmed to be owned by the Reddit user through the signing of a message with a Bitcoin private key, suggest that $30 million worth of BCH (around 100,000 coins) and $15 million worth of Bitcoin (1,550 coins) were stolen.

Featured Image from Shutterstock

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