China Ranks Ethereum as the World’s Best Blockchain Network, Bitcoin at #13

On May 17, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released its public blockchain ratings, ranking various blockchain projects like Ethereum in the global cryptocurrency sector based on three criteria: technology, application, and innovation.

Bitcoin at #13

As shown in the chart below, the Chinese government ranked Ethereum as the world’s best blockchain network at number 1. The top five included Ethereum, Steem, Lisk, NEO, and Komodo, all of which utilize smart contracts to efficiently and securely process information in a decentralized manner.

cnLedger@cnLedger
Replying to @cnLedger

3/ Full list:
1-5: #ETH, #STEEM, #LSK, #NEO, #KMD
6-10: #XLM, #ADA, #IOTA, #XMR, #STRAT
11-15: #QTUM, #BTS, #BTC, #XVG, #WAVES
16-20: #ETC, #XRP, #DASH, #SC, #BCN
21-25:#LTC, #ARK, #ZEC, #NANO, #BCH
26-28: #DCR, #HSR, #XEM

cnLedger@cnLedger

4/ Detailed scores of the first crypto ratings by CCID Research, China’s Ministry of Industry & Information Technology pic.twitter.com/7LiJIWokge

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The addition of Steem in the top five rankings of the Chinese government’s blockchain network was unexpected by the community because unlike Lisk and NEO, Steem is not a base layer blockchain technology that can be used to create decentralized applications. Steem is a content distribution platform based on the blockchain with a primary purpose of distributing content. Essentially, Steem is like Reddit based on the decentralized blockchain.

Another surprising addition to its top 10 rankings was Monero at number 9, given that several governments including the Japanese government and its financial services agency (FSA) have expressed their concerns towards cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zcash that are capable of processing anonymous payments that could be associated with money laundering and criminal activities.

The cryptocurrency community was taken aback by the ranking of bitcoin at 13, which was co-ranked with privacy-focused cryptocurrency Verge. The bitcoin community was understandably outraged by the ranking of bitcoin at 13, considering that bitcoin has the longest track record as the most secure and dominant cryptocurrency in the global market.

The argument that bitcoin’s application is limited to a form of money and payment is illogical, as the Chinese government ranked Steem, which has a single application on its blockchain network that is a content distribution platform, as the 2nd best blockchain network behind Steem.

More importantly, bitcoin has one of the most active open source development communities in the global cryptocurrency sector and it has developed innovative technologies like Confidential Transactions (CT), Bulletproofs, and Lightning Network, which allows developers to enable private transactions, process micro-payments, and with solutions like RootStock, potentially allow bitcoin to function as an Ethereum-like smart contracts platform.

Exceeded Expectations

The majority of the cryptocurrency community expected the Chinese government to rank private blockchain networks and protocols that can assist the government in surveillance or monitoring transactions at the top. Hence, the ranking of the government which placed cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Monero demonstrate the intent of the government to remain objective in its assessment.

However, analysts have stated that the Chinese government has overlooked the long track record, hashrate, computing power, and accumulated difficulty of major blockchain networks like bitcoin and prioritized next-generation blockchain networks instead.

Earlier this month, South China Morning Post, a major publication based in Hong Kong, reported that China’s public blockchain rankings were developed by China Center for Information Industry Development (CIID), an institute that works closely with the government to advise on policymaking in technology.

The high ranking of Ethereum and smart contract blockchain networks could influence the government to potentially allow some blockchain networks to operate in China.

Philippines Legalizes Cryptocurrency in Economic Zone of CEZA

The Philippine government is welcoming nearly a dozen cryptocurrency companies to operate in a special tax-friendly economic zone situated in close proximity to a number of neighboring countries.

According to a Reuters report, the Philippines will legalize the entry of  top 10 blockchain and cryptocurrency companies to operate in the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), a government-controlled economic zone that is within an hour’s flight away from the likes of Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan.

The government aims to woo cryptocurrency companies to operate out of the economic zone with tax benefits to help generate employment opportunities locally, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority chief Raul Lambino told Reuters.

Notably, the official confirmed that the government will also license – in effect legalize – the cryptocurrency firms in the special zone.

The companies will also be allowed to operate exchanges, offer initial coin offerings (ICOs) and engage in cryptocurrency mining within the zone, he added, stating:

We are about to license 10 platforms for cryptocurrency exchange. They are Japanese, Hong Kong, Malaysians, Koreans…They can go into cryptocurrency mining, initial coin offerings, or they can go into exchange.

There is a caveat, however. Any exchange of fiat money into cryptocurrencies or vice-versa should be conducted beyond Philippines’ borders to avoid infringing the country’s laws.

To aid in bringing jobs to those companies, the economic zone’s regulator is also considering establishing a new financial technology university in the economic zone with a specific focus on blockchain technology, Lambino added.

The embracive stance follows newly introduced rules by the CEZA in February which allowed cryptocurrency companies to legally establish offices and facilities in the special zone. To gain a license, companies must invest at least $ 1 million in the zone over two years and pay up to $100,000 in licensing fees.

Meanwhile, in the mainland, the Philippines’ central bank was previously known to be reviewing the applications of a dozen operators vying to register and launch cryptocurrency exchanges in the country as recently as December. It remains to be seen if these operators have since switched tact to register in the economic zone instead.

The Philippines became one of the earliest nations in the world to publish regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges in early 2017. The deputy director of the central bank, appearing in a televised interview in October 2017, lauded the ‘pioneering regulation’ and said bitcoin, as a monetary instrument, is “fast, near real-time and convenient”.

Bitcoin Price Moves To $9,000 With Strong Momentum

The bitcoin price has surpassed $8,800 after rising more than 6 percent over the past 24 hours. Volumes across major cryptocurrency exchanges remain strong and the daily trading volume of the market has increased past $26 billion for the first time over the past month.

$9,200

On March 21, the bitcoin price tested the $9,200 support level but failed to sustain momentum for mid-term growth and fell below the $6,500 mark within two weeks after struggling to bounce off $8,200.

At this juncture, it is likely that the bitcoin price tests the $9,200 level it had touched in late March, and a movement past that level would lead the bitcoin price to the $10,000 region by the end of April.

In November 2017, investors described the $10,000 mark as a psychological threshold and a key milestone. At the time, traders predicted the price of bitcoin to surge substantially subsequent to surpassing $10,000. Almost immediately after breaking into the $10,000 region, the bitcoin price surged to $14,000 and eventually to $20,000.

Since the initial correction of bitcoin in February, the market has not been able to demonstrate any sign of stability. The price of most alternative cryptocurrencies (altcoins) and tokens followed the short-term trend of bitcoin and the volume of regional exchanges in Japan and South Korea significantly decreased.

Fundamentally, bitcoin is in an ideal position to initiate a new rally in both the short and mid-term, given that the adoption of cryptocurrency in general has started to increase. Moveover, in late 2017, the majority of speculators who bought into the cryptocurrency market did so out of FOMO, or fear of missing out, without solid knowledge in the structure and fundamentals of cryptocurrencies.

Over the past five months, the awareness of cryptocurrency has increased drastically and a substantially large number of individuals have started to understand the basics of decentralized financial networks and cryptocurrencies.

As such, fintech company Smart Valor CEO Olga Feldmeier stated that in the next two years, the bitcoin price will reach a value of $100,000, and within 2018, the bitcoin price will surpass its previous high at $20,000.

“I believe that we will see a comeback to the height achieved at the end of 2017 this year. Over the next two years I still predict we could see it reach a value of $100,000,” Olga told The Independent.

Rise of Altcoins

Throughout this week, CCN reported that the altcoin season may have started with strong consistent performances of small cryptocurrencies and tokens. Today, several tokens like STORM have recorded a gain of above 30 percent against bitcoin and about 40 percent against the US dollar.

Investors have gained more confidence in the cryptocurrency market and are now willing to take more risks by investing in cryptocurrencies with higher volatility and lower liquidity.

Still, in an interview with FT, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin stated that the valuation of most altcoins or tokens cannot be justified and are overblown. “There’s projects that never had a soul, that are just like, ra-ra, price go up. Lambo, vrromm, buybuybuy now!” Buterin said.

UK Watchdog to Publish its Review on Cryptocurrencies Later this Year

Britain’s financial regulator and markets watchdog outline its policy thinking on cryptocurrencies with a review to be published later this year.

In revealing its business plan for the coming financial year, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) underlined cryptocurrencies as ‘an area of increasing interest for markets and regulators globally’. While admitting that cryptocurrencies do not directly fall under its regulatory scope, the FCA stressed that certain models of their usage bring them under its purview in a ‘complex’ landscape.

Pointedly, the FCA confirmed it would reveal its own take on cryptocurrencies, policy-wise, later this year. The regulator said:

We will work with the Bank of England and the Treasury as part of a taskforce to develop thinking and publish a Discussion Paper later this year outlining our policy thinking on cryptocurrencies.

The FCA is notably a member of the ‘Cryptoassets Task Force’ established by the British government in March 2018, consisting of the regulator, Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Bank of England (the central bank). The working group will explore and study the benefits and risks of cryptocurrencies, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said last month, helping the UK’s fintech sector to ‘grow and flourish’ in a regulatory climate that has broadly been supportive of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies over the years.

On Friday, the FCA mandated firms offering cryptocurrency derivatives to comply with all applicable rules to be authorized, stating it would be a ‘criminal offence’ otherwise.

Earlier in February, the UK’s Treasury Select Committee, an influential group of cross-party members of parliament (MPs), launched an inquiry into cryptocurrencies in an effort to better understand them.

While the Treasury Committee confirmed it would look at risks and threats posed by cryptocurrencies to ‘consumers, businesses and governments’, committee chair Nicky Morgan stressed the group would “also examine the potential the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies and the technology underpinning them, how they can create innovative opportunities, and to what extent they could disrupt the economy and replace traditional means of payment.”

Committee member Alison McGovern added that the inquiry would help UK lawmakers and politicians to better educate themselves on cryptocurrencies before enforcing policies. “It is time that Whitehall and Westminster understood cryptocurrency better and thought more clearly about the policy environment for blockchain technology,” she stated.

Bitcoin 7% Increase as Cryptocurrency Market Rebounds From Yesterday’s Losses

After dipping below $6,500, the price of bitcoin has increased 7 percent to $7,100, as the rest of the cryptocurrency market recovered over the past 24 hours.

Since March 30, the valuation of the cryptocurrency market rose from $250 billion to $268 billion, by around 8 percent.

Correlated Movements

On March 29, Cornell professor Emin Gun Sirer stated that a mature market should have assets that are performing independently from each other.

“Indeed, a mature market should be decentralized, with independent coin prices decoupled from each other, each moving in concert with the future prospects of the specific coin,” said Sirer.

For many weeks throughout February and March, the entire cryptocurrency market has demonstrated correlated movements, as the vast majority of both major and minor cryptocurrencies recorded similar gain and loss patterns with extreme volatility.

Today for instance, as the bitcoin price increased by 6 percent, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin all increased by the same 6 percent. With the exception of a handful of cryptocurrencies, which have been likely affected by pump and dumps, most of the cryptocurrencies in the global market have all moved in a similar pattern since the major correction occurred in February.

As such, given the extreme volatility in the market and its correlated price movements, it is evident that the market has not stabilized from its recent correction, and thus may need more time to recover from its losses.

The market demonstrated a necessary rebound from the $250 billion mark, and major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have been able to sustain their resistance levels, even though volumes still remain relatively low across all cryptocurrency exchanges.

History

Bitcoin’s latest correction has been brutal, and it led to millions of dollars in losses for many individuals and institutional investors holding the cryptocurrency on behalf of organizations. But, it is important to acknowledge that identical patterns have occurred in the past, throughout 2013 to 2018.

2018’s bitcoin correction is the third worst correction the cryptocurrency has ever experienced, after two 80 percent corrections it suffered in 2013 and 2014. Both corrections took nearly 12 months for bitcoin to recover from.

The market moves up and down, and volatility is stronger in markets like the cryptocurrency market that have lower liquidity and volume than other regulated markets. The cryptocurrency market was not largely affected by the prohibition of cryptocurrency ads or other news relating to regulation, contrary to the narrative the media has tried to portray. Rather, it was the market simply acknowledging that the price of most cryptocurrencies have increased to a point in which they were difficult to justify based on tangibles and sustainable models.

 

Tron for example, was worth $16 billion, and neared the valuation of SpaceX. While it is entirely possible for Tron to achieve that market cap again in the future, Tron has only released its testnet this week.

 

The valuation of most cryptocurrencies were not proportional to the impact they had on the respective industries they were targeting, and the cryptocurrency market experienced a correction because investors could no longer support the prices of them.

Cryptocurrency news: Will Litecoin ever overtake Bitcoin?

LITECOIN is currently ranked as the fifth cryptocurrency on the market, it has grown more than 3855.16 percent over the past year and has shot from $4.26 this time last year to a price of $168.49. So why has it experienced this remarkable growth and could it overtake the number one cryptocurrency bitcoin?

Litecoin was founded in 2011, two years after bitcoin was born.

The token is often referred to as the ‘silver to bitcoin’s gold’, as it was launched using the same code as bitcoin and its aim was to improve on the transaction speed of bitcoin.

Instead of using bitcoin’s SHA256 network, Litecoin used scrypt functions which helped to improve transaction speeds.

Bitcoin creates a block of information with data encrypted in 10 minutes, whereas Litecoin does it in two and half minutes per block.

As a cryptocurrency, it is favoured by traders as it is considered to be not as congested as bitcoin and is a lot cheaper as a result.

And experts claim Litecoin has asserted itself as a cryptocurrency which deserves to be in the top five, but does it have the potential to ever overtake bitcoin?

Will Litecoin ever overtake Bitcoin?

Litecoin has experienced remarkable growth this year, increasing in price by 3855.16 percent, compared to bitcoin’s 593.39 percent.

Bitcoin has been plagued by extended transaction speeds as users flood the network – many have said it has become a victim of its own success and has become too congested.

Despite this, experts do not predict Litecoin overtaking bitcoin any time soon.

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency on the market so has first advantage and is recognised as a well-know cryptocurrency name, Nicholas Cawley, analyst at Daily FX explained to Express.co.uk.

The number one cryptocurrency managed to garner a critical mass and drew in investors and traders, and Mr Crawley said he does not envisage Litecoin ever outshining bitcoin.

However the analyst also predicts Litecoin will overtake another cryptocurrency this year, which is currently fourth on CoinMarketCap.com.

“I think Litecoin will overtake Bitcoin cash but in market capitalisation terms will struggle to overtake Bitcoin,” Mr Cawley said.

Bitcoin Cash has just under 17 million tokens in circulation against a maximum of 21 million, while Litecoin has 55.5 million of a maximum 84 million in supply, so if prices remain the same litecoin’s market cap will grow faster than Bitcoin Cash.

“I also like the Litepal payment system and when we eventually see the launch of the Litepay debit card, then I can see Litecoin overtaking Bitcoin Cash.”

Kristjan Dekleva, head of product development at Blocktrade was in agreement and did not forsee Litecoin taking the number one spot on the cryptocurrency market.

Mr Tekleva said: “I don’t believe that Litecoin will overtake bitcoin. Litecoin does its intended job well for certain intents and purposes and has somewhat wide market penetration.

“But one it lacks the name recognition that Bitcoin has, which helps it stay where it is despite its flaws, and two there are numerous other altcoins that do Litecoin’s intended job, quick and cheap transactions, much better.

“Ultimately, it functions ok, but not well enough to break out of mid-market in the long run.”

While Andrei Barysevich, Director of Advanced Collection at Record Future, believes Litecoin has the capability to overtake bitcoin at some point, but not in the current climate.

“Bitcoin is not going anyway, everybody knows about bitcoin, in my view, it is going to remain as a gold standard. People will continue to use and continue to store money in bitcoin,” he said.

“However in day to day operations, I think Litecoin is to become more dominant currency, as soon as we start to see established e-commerce websites accepting Litecoin, that’s the time when i think Litecoin is going to dominate bitcoin cash.”

Mr Barysevich added to say he believes Litecoin will continue to experience growth in 2018 and will add on the success it is already experienced.

 

Israel: Steps Toward Cryptocurrency Support

In terms of technological innovation, Israel has been labeled by some as “The Startup Nation”with Israeli ventures raising over $5 billion in capital in 2017. This is almost 10% of China’s yearly fundraising total. While there’s a number of popular applications, platforms, and products including USB flash drives, the Waze navigation app, SodaStream carbonation machines, the country has set its foot in the crypto industry as well.

Back in 2017, Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, partnered with Microsoft to create a Blockchain-powered platform to “make the process of signing up guarantors simple and quicker.” And in February 2018, the Israeli Tax Authority (ITA) stated that cryptocurrencies will be taxed by the capital gains as properties.

On February 26, 2018, the country took it even further, when the Israeli Supreme Court handed down a decision that would temporarily block Leumi Bank, limiting a local broker, Bits of Gold, from facilitating the sale of cryptocurrency.

Though many were quick to laud the temporary ruling as ‘precedent-setting,’ it still leaves ample room for further developments. The judge ruling the case, Anat Baron, said that her decision was “not intended to harm the bank’s rights to analyze with specificity every transaction that takes place with the bank account or to take any actions that are related to minimizing risks.” This likely means cryptocurrency brokers and exchanges putting transparency first will be regarded as lawful—for now

Founder and CEO of Bits of Gold Yuval Roash sees this decision as justified, saying,

“Regulation is one of the things that has been important to us since the beginning. From the very beginning, we saw the problem with Bitcoin in terms of its anonymous characteristics, and we wanted to receive a currency service certificate—and we received it in August 2013.”

This is significant progress from December of last year, when a Tel Aviv district court ruled in favor of Leumi Bank, who had refused service to Bits of Gold because of Bitcoin’s inability to meet anti-money laundering standards. Bank Leumi had also been piggybacking on the Bank of Israel’s June labeling of exchanges as “websites that facilitate gambling transactions”, which is a sore spot for Israel especially. The country proved to be careful about upsetting the balance within its borders, and even blocked popular ride-sharing application Uber from an Israeli debut.

After examining the last five years of Bits of Golds’ operations, Judge Baron determined Leumi’s previous assumption that violations of the law would occur if Bitcoin were left unchecked were false.

In relation to the ruling, Yair Geva, head of the Hi-Tech Department of Israeli law firm Herzog, Fox & Ne’eman, remarked:

“It should be emphasized that the Court did not rule on the fundamental question—which has not yet been decided—whether Bank Leumi is entitled to refuse banking services for cryptocurrency trading. Although the final decision is still pending, it seems that this recent verdict of the Supreme Court will continue to give tailwinds to the tremendous growth of the crypto industry in Israel particularly, and to hi-tech as well as the financial industry in general. One of the reasons for this is that the Supreme Court clarified that Bits of Gold operated transparently and did not violate any statutory provision. In other words, the Supreme Court determined that currently there is no direct legal prohibition on cryptocurrency trading in Israel. It remains to be seen how regulators in Israel will respond to this landmark decision.”

Regardless of how regulators will respond, it’s already clear that progress on Israeli blockchain innovations hasn’t slowed.

“As with any new and promising technology, jurisdictions that instate well-balanced policies to promote innovation and adoption, will find themselves attracting talent and business to their ecosystems on grand scales. The best frameworks will be the ones that take a learning approach, allowing entrepreneurs and institutions to deeply understand how these technologies affect all stakeholders and develop the policies which are beneficial to most while educating the public on tradeoffs and accountability. Israel has always seen the advancement of technology as a strength and opportunity, and is well positioned to lead in Blockchain development and applications,” said Galia Benartzi, Co-founder of Bancor.

Itay Nagler, Israeli citizen and CEO of blockchain-driven travel startup Cool Cousin, says that Israelis, as a default, undercut the perception that things can’t or shouldn’t change.

“We are almost raised to believe that there is always a better, more efficient way to do things. That is one of the main reasons such a small country is home to many great innovative companies and individuals. This is also an explanation to why Israelis were among the firsts to adopt blockchain technology and crypto. A lot of us see it as a wonderful solution to many problems and our mentality of “no fear” to change, and relatively easy access to quality human resources and funding allows us to act on it. This, I believe, helped us during the past decades to position ourselves as pioneers and experts in many industries.”

Even though there were no concrete regulations of the industry before, it didn’t stop entrepreneurs from launching blockchain projects of their own. Bancor was one of the first major ICOs, raising over $150 million in mere minutes, and has its origins in Israel. IOTA , an IoT-focused Blockchain solution, recently opened an office in Tel Aviv, noting that the city is “a well-established tech hub, always ranking in the top 10 of start-up reports.”

These positive changes, however, go contrary to the recent decision by the Israeli regulators of not including companies involved in the crypto industry in the TASE, Tel Aviv Stock Exchange indices, due to its ‘trading volatility.’

Israel appears to be setting itself in the Blockchain ecosystem, along with the rest of the world, but tries first guarantee that the market’s grey areas be limited while its most useful attributes allowed to flourish

Traditional Liechtenstein Bank Launches Cryptocurrency Investment Platform

Citizens of Liechtenstein, a country that has become rather famous for its cryptocurrency acceptance, will soon be able to purchase digital currencies directly from a bank. Given the royal family’s demonstrated interest in the asset class and the general willingness to embrace cryptocurrency development, the move is perhaps not too surprising.

According to a press release issued by Bank Frick on February 28, 2018, it will be offering a wide variety of cryptocurrencies on its trading platform effective immediately. The initial set of digital currencies available for purchase will include BitcoinEthereumLitecoin, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash.

The target audience of the bank likely comprises of high net worth individuals and institutional investors, or rather, the type of individuals that already have a sizeable amount of funds in various banking instruments.

For any cryptocurrency exchange or broker, especially those, security is an important consideration. As is traditional for any cryptocurrency exchange, Bank Frick has stated that it will store all of its customers’ cryptocurrency assets in cold wallets, or rather, on computers air-gapped from the internet for the most part. Other security features, however, were not detailed in the press release.

The financial institution in question is already a fully-regulated bank that complies with all know-your-customer related laws at the country and EU level. Thus, it is safe to conclude that the same identification requirements will be carried over for any investor looking to purchase any amount of cryptocurrency from Bank Frick.

The bank also confirms regulatory compliance in its statement,

“At Bank Frick, cryptocurrency investments are subject to the same strict statutory measures as traditional financial transactions,” and “Clients can only invest in cryptocurrencies once they have been fully identified and verified. The verification and identification process also involves checking the origin of the money used to invest in them.”

Even though Bank Frick is a financial institution that primarily caters to Liechtenstein citizens, it has announced that the platform will be available to any European entity interested in it. The Chief Client Officer, Huber Büchel, said,

“Our services are in demand from companies across the whole of Europe. This is because they know that we can offer them reliable support in implementing their business models with cryptocurrencies and blockchains in line with the existing regulatory framework.”

Furthermore, the bank has announced that it will be accepting foreign currencies in exchange for cryptocurrency assets. At this time, investors can transact in US Dollars, Euros or Swiss Francs.

Bank Frick joins a rather exclusive list of banks willing to not only adopt, but also facilitate the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies. With most financial institutions around the world heading in the exact opposite direction, it is clear that Liechtenstein’s banks have other intentions.

Bittrex Will Remove 82 Tokens Due to Lack of Liquidity in Small Cryptocurrencies

Bittrex, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges which also powers UpBit, South Korea’s second biggest exchange operated by Kakao subsidiary Dunamoo, has stated that it will remove 82 tokens from its trading platform.

Token Removal

“Occasionally, there are circumstances that lead Bittrex to remove a coin’s wallet or market from the Bittrex Exchange,” said the Bittrex team. “We will be removing the wallets included in the list below on March 30, 2018. Once these wallets are removed, we will no longer be able to recover these coins. Users must withdrawal their coins before March 30, 2018, in order to keep them.”

The Bittrex team also stated that several cryptocurrencies have broken blockchains that have disabled users from withdrawing their balances.

“The coins marked with an asterisk (*) have broken blockchains or wallets that will not allow withdrawals,” said Bittrex, referring to cryptocurrencies like CRYPT.

On leading trading platforms, it is difficult for exchanges to sustain a stable order book if a cryptocurrencies does not have enough liquidity and demand from users of the platform. Lack of liquidity leads to price manipulation, which can be initiated with funds as little as $50,000, as shown in the recent study done by cryptocurrency trader Sylvain Ribes.

By using a method called slippage–a process of selling $50,000 worth of a particular cryptocurrency on a trading platform to measure its impact on the price–, Ribes evaluated the liquidity of digital assets on major exchanges like OKEx and GDAX. While GDAX had a slippage of less than 1 percent, on OKEx and other cryptocurrency-only exchanges with low market cap or volume cryptocurrencies, each sale of $50,000 led to a 2 to 10 percent drop in the market value of cryptocurrencies.

“A bit of wash trading and artificial volume inflation is to be expected in a thoroughly unregulated market. What I did not expect was the magnitude of the fraud,” said Ribes. “Many pairs, albeit boasting up to $5 million volumes, would cost you more than 10% in slippage, should you want to liquidate a mere $50k in assets,” he added.

Wash trading and price manipulation is common on major trading platforms with small cryptocurrencies or low-volume cryptocurrency pairs. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently warned investors against pump and dump schemes that are often seen in the cryptocurrency market.

“Fraudsters often try to use the lure of new and emerging technologies to convince potential victims to invest their money in scams. These frauds include ‘pump-and-dump’ and market manipulation schemes involving publicly traded companies that claim to provide exposure to these new technologies,” SEC’s statement read.

SEC’s Involvement

Earlier this month, the SEC requested cryptocurrency exchanges to either de-list ICO tokens or register with the agency in order to continue providing support for tokens. For US-based cryptocurrency exchanges like Bittrex, it is mandatory to register with the SEC before processing trades involving tokens.

Throughout next few months, many major exchanges will likely de-list or remove small cryptocurrencies that are prone to pump and dump schemes, and market manipulation.

Ripple Could Be The Next Bitcoin

Bitcoin has made some investors very rich. Those who purchased the digital currency back in the old days when it was trading for a few dollars. And it could make more investors rich provided that it continues to rise to new highs.

But that’s unlikely, as large percentage gains are hard to come by at these price levels—north of $10,000.

Coin Price* Market Cap
Bitcoin (BTC) $10,751.90 $181,767,449,663
Ethereum (ETH) $788.19 77,266,069,902
Ripple (XRP) $0.91 35,513,987,185
*As of Wednesday, 11 a.m.

Still, there’s Ripple, trading below a $1. And there are experts who believe that it could be the next Bitcoin, one day.

Craig Cole of CryptoMaps is one of those experts.”Ripple just might be the catalyst in making cryptocurrency more mainstream,” says Cole.

Its faster transaction speeds and lower fees make it easier for financial systems to embrace the virtual currency, which is partly why Ripple’s value has increased dramatically just this year. Ripple is helping financial institutions save money and it is only expected to become even more prevalent in payment flows. The virtual currency is certainly on the rise and has the potential to be the first token to truly disrupt an industry, and if it does, expect XRP to reach Bitcoin-like levels of ubiquity in the near future.

John-Paul McCaffrey, Associate Director ITRC, Long Island University, agrees. “Although currently there isn’t a platform to exchange fiat currency for Ripple (XRP) this may change sooner than you think,” says McCaffrey. “There is speculation that Coinbase will be adding this to their list of cryptocurrencies they have available for fiat exchange. Providing easy liquidity through Coinbase alone will attract new interest in XRP.”

That will take some time says Roman Guelfi-GibbsCEO, Lead Systems Designer for Pinnacle Brilliance Systems Inc.

Ripple certainly has the potential to move up a notch in 2018, but I think it will be more likely in 2019. As the market observes more projects being coded in other algorithms such as XRP, ETH will likely take a backseat to the next big coin/token. It will take some time for the markets to digest this, so I am projecting 2019 to be the likely time for it to take place. Of course, with crypto, anything can happen, so watch closely.

Not everyone is that enthusiastic about the prospects of Ripple catching up with Bitcoin. Like Shidan Gouran, president of Global Block Chain Technologies.

Ripple is unlikely to go up by one or two notches in the cryptocurrency world in 2018, and this is the case for three reasons. The first reason is the sheer dollar volume that separates each of the three currencies in the top positions, in terms of their market cap. Bitcoin is at over $191 billion, Ethereum is at over $84 billion, and Ripple is at over $35 billion. To displace Ethereum would require a deficit of about $49 billion to be closed (which is more than double Iceland’s entire national GDP). The second reason is that the use cases for Ripple are mostly for the trade of assets, not for day-to-day spending. As consumer awareness of cryptocurrencies will rise significantly in 2018 and beyond, the interest of the masses will be on cryptocurrencies that can be used as currencies, not just for investment transactions. Finally, the third reason is that because Ripple cannot be bought with fiat currencies, one must purchase existing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum to purchase XRP. This goes on to feed demand for Bitcoin and Ethereum, and will only solidify their positions as the top two cryptocurrencies on the market.

Actually, the last point is no longer true. Recently, the French exchange bitit.io added Ripple and Litecoin to its coin offerings. This means that Ripple can now be purchased directly. At least that’s what the site claims, though I couldn’t verify how easy the process is and what are the relevant fees.

Still, Ripple investors have to wait for quite some time before they replicate the success of early Bitcoin investors, provided that it gains traction by users—and that big governments, big banks or hackers do not crush cryptocurrencies across the board.

[Ed. note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment. Disclosure: I don’t own any Bitcoin.]