This week was altogether more positive for the industry, giving investors some much-needed moments of relief from the bearish atmosphere gripping the markets. The major news of the week came from the SEC with their statement on Thursday that they deem bitcoin and ethereum to not be securities. With Binance announcing Euro-crypto pairs, Eth classic surging 20% after Coinbase announced plans to add support, and EOS going live the broader market also seemed to be gaining traction.
Binance Announces Plan to Offer Euro-Crypto Pairs
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, this week announced plans to offer crypto trading pairs with the Euro, with a view to expanding to other fiat pairs in the future.
Binance CEO Zhao Changpeng told Bloomberg that the exchange will offer Euro-crypto trading later in the year from its planned European base in Malta - announced in March - via a separate local exchange.
Although he added that he does intend to add other fiat pairs, the CEO did not provide any specifics regarding the timetable or what the exchange will offer.
Ethereum Classic Surges 20% After Coinbase Announces Plan to Add ETC and Binance Adds ETC Trading Pairs
The price of Ethereum Classic (ETC) surged around 20% on Tuesday after Binance said it was adding two ETC trading pairs and Coinbase announced its intention to list ETC.
With both leading exchanges announcing the plans within an hour of one another, the market reacted strongly in a rare break from the bearish atmosphere gripping crpyto markets.
Binance announced that it would "open trading for ETC/BNB and ETC/USDT” in addition to its existing ETC/BTC and ETC/ETH trading pairs, while according to the Coinbase blog, Coinbase expects to finalize the addition within "the next few months."
$2.5 Billion: New Study Suggests Tether Was Used to Manipulate Bitcoin’s Price in 2017
A study published this week by University of Texas professor John Griffin and co-author Amin Shams suggests that Tether (USDT), a crypto supposedly backed by fiat currency by a ratio of 1:1, was used to manipulate bitcoin’s price last year.
According to the paper titled “Is Bitcoin Really Un-Tethered?”, the stablecoin was used to create support areas for the flagship cryptocurrency, effectively ensuring its price didn’t drop - and ensuring that other traders saw buy signals in specific ranges.
Looking at how the 2.5 billion Tethers in existence flowed through the crypto markets, the study found that they were created in large chunks, often of 200 million or more, moved to crypto exchange Bitfinex - and then used to buy bitcoin so as to stimulate the price.
The paper explains that when bitcoin’s price fell, purchases with Tether tended to increase, which then reversed the decline. When bitcoin rose, it adds, the opposite wasn’t seen - according to the authors “suggestive of Tether being used to protect bitcoin prices during downturns.”
Western Union CEO Shocks Ripple Community: No Cost Savings Seen by Using XRP During xRapid Trial
The CEO of global money transfer company Western Union, Hikmet Ersek, shocked the Ripple (XRP) community on Wednesday by saying that while Western Union is still continuing its trial of xRapid (which is the only Ripple product that uses the XRP token), it has not seen any cost savings so far.
The Western Union CEO said on Wednesday - during an interview with Fortune at the Economic Club of New York - that the company had not saved any money so far by using XRP, adding that Western Union would only start using xRapid in volume if the trial proves Ripple's claim that using xRapid leads to "dramatically lower cost."
While it should be noted that by Ersek's own admission, the size of this trial is "too small" to draw any conclusions, these comments by one of Ripple’s major partners were seen by many to dampen some of the enthusiasm surrounding the platform’s expanding list of partners.
SEC Spokesman Says Ethereum and Bitcoin Are Not Securities: Markets Rally in Relief
Perhaps the biggest news of the week came on Thursday as an SEC spokesman remarked in a speech that Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) are not considered securities, but that the regulator deems ICOs to be securities and therefore under the purview of the SEC.
Talking at the Yahoo All Markets Summit: Crypto conference in San Francisco - SEC spoksesperson William Hinman explained that the that the biggest challenge in deciding if cryptocurrencies and ICOs are securities is whether there is an expectation of profits from a third party, as well as whether investors have an expectation of profit.
With markets reacting positively to the news, and Ether rising over 10% within an hour of the news, the confirmation from the SEC marked a rare bullish moment in the general bearish climate of the recent period.
EOS Officially Goes Live as 15% Voting Threshold Is Met
Thursday also saw another major event in the week after EOS just managed to reach the majority required to launch the EOS network.
Receiving over 169,000 votes (just under 17% of holders) that will determine the group of ‘block producers’ that will be tasked with maintaining the EOS network, the successful launch came as a relief to EOS investors after a nervously slow voting process.
The complex voting system caused worries that EOS holders were apathetic as voters and so might not have exceeded the critical 15% threshold. The vote however now ensures that 21 temporary and random BPs have been replaced with 21 officially elected BPs, and the blockchain can move forward.
Concerns have been raised not only about EOS's centralized governance but also the high concentratation of wealth. CryptoGlobe Research recently found that the top 1.6% of EOS holders own 90% of supply.