CNBC Fast Money: Investors Seem Bearish on Bitcoin, but Bullish on ICOs

2017 was a great year for Bitcoin (BTC). In fact, according to data from CryptoCompare, the price rose from just under $1000 to almost $20,000 during last year. The story has been quite different, though, in the first half of 2018. In fact, on Thursday (21 June 2018), CNBC's Fast Money show said that Bitcoin seemed to be stuck in purgatory, and that ICOs which had a great 2017 seem to be still going strong. 

According to CNBC's Bob Pisani, ICOs are still coming out at a "pretty torrid" pace:

"There have been as many ICOs in the first six months of 2018 as there were in almost all of 2017 put together, 334 so far this year vs. 343 for the entire 2017... More money has been raised [so far] this year than all of 2017, and that's the important number."

Bob Pisani, CNBC

He then went on to give a couple of examples of the "wacky" ICOs we have seen this year. 

The first example he gave was the royalty-backed ICO, TaTaTu, which plans to build a token-powered video-on-demand platform as a competitor to Netflix; it has raised $575 from a private sale of its TTU tokens, with one investor alone, Lady Monika Barardi (co-founder of AMBI Pictures), accounting for around $100 million of that amount. The other famous backer of this project is apprently Prince Félix of Luxembourg (second in line to the throne).

The second example was AKoin Ecosystem, a new project founded by R&B singer Akon that is being launched in around two weeks. Its website says that this project "offers an abundance of digital and in-real-life platforms and experiences that create opportunity and inclusion for youth entrepreneurs by allowing consumers to buy, hold, and spend cryptocurrency right from their smartphone through a suite of blockchain-powered apps." The token that will be powering this ecosystem is called AKoin, which aims to be a "stable currency alternative throughout Africa." As reported here, as part of this project, a 100% crypto-based city (that uses AKoin tokens for payment) is being built in Senegal, a country in West Africa. 

The last example Pisani gave was Filecoin, a blockchain-based cloud storage project, which launched in August 2017 and has so far raised over $250 million, but still does not have an actual working product.

However, Pisani says that he is hearing that "a lot of investors are growing weary of the valuations." 

Pisani colleague, Brian Kelly, agrees, saying that investors are in a "wait-and-see mode" right now:

"Everybody is saying 'Show me... we gave you a ton of money, show me the product, I want to see this thing come out'; Also, everybody and their brother is coming to me and saying 'How do we do an ICO' or pitching me an ICO. So, you have a massive amount of supply... It feels very much like Bitcoin did in December, where we have sky high valuations, it's very frothy, and people are starting to say 'I am going to put the brake on the ICOs right now. I've got my portfolio. I don't need a seventh or an eighth ICO'."

Brian Kelly, CNBC

When asked what is happening with Ether (ETH), Kelly said that what's really interesting is that, unlike last year, a lot of these ICOs, this year, have been funded with fiat (USD) and not Ether, and that a lot of the investors, whom are based in Asia, seem to have started looking away from the ICOs and getting into Bitcoin, Ether, and the big DApp platforms.


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Irish Drug Dealer Forced to Surrender €52 Million in Bitcoin to Authorities

Michael LaVere
  • An Irish drug dealer was forced to surrender €52 million in crypto to the Criminal Assets Bureau.
  • High Court determined the proceeds to be the result of a crime. 

A drug dealer was forced to surrender €52 million (around $56 million) in cryptocurrency to Ireland's Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) after the country's High Court determined it to be proceeds from a crime. 

According to the report by Irish news outlet Independent, Dubliner Clifton Collins accumulated more than €52 million in the illegal sale and supply of drugs. Justice Alex Owens ruled that the bitcoin should be forfeited under the Proceeds of Crime legislation, a decision that went uncontested by Collins. 

The report claims authorities discovered a quantity of cannabis in Collins possession after a vehicle stoppage which took place in February 2017. Authorities went on to find a large number of suspected cannabis plants at an address at Farnaught, Corr na Móna. A subsequent investigation by the CAB led the bureau to uncover Collins's extensive holding of crypto assets, which amounted to €52 million. 

The report claims that Collins was an early investor in bitcoin and crypto-assets, which appreciated exponentially over the years. The CAB was able to secure a freezing order on the bitcoin to ensure that it could not be moved from the wallet prior to a court ruling. 

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