Weekend Recap: Coronavirus hits markets

It’s Monday again. Time to look back at the weekend that was. There was another twist in the Steemit drama, more fallout from Coronavirus, and a variety of other exciting developments. Fill your boots.

Another twist in Steemit drama

If you were lucky, you might have seen the drama around Steemit unfolding last week. The Steemit community was up in arms at what they perceived to be an attempt by Justin Sun, CEO of TRON, to stage a coup of the Steem blockchain network.

Sun purchased Steemit, a decentralised social network that sits on top of the Steem blockchain. The Steem community didn’t trust Sun, so they voted for a soft fork that stopped him from using those tokens. Sun retaliated by calling the community “hackers,” and getting Binance, Huobi, and Poloniex to agree to remove the previous witnesses in favour of just one — @dev365, an account allegedly owned by Justin Sun, the founder of Tron.

Over the weekend, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao attempted to quell concerns that they had helped Sun: “Our relationship with Justin Sun is the same as with any other project listed on Binance. There are no equity holdings or investments of any kind between us,” Zhao told CoinTelegraph. ” I wouldn’t even say I have much of a personal relationship with him outside of work,” he added. The full thread is below.

Is this the end of the saga, though?

China’s Central Bank set to invest $4.7M in Central Bank’s Blockchain Trade Finance platform

The Chinese government has given People’s Bank of China (PBoC) 32.35 million yuan (roughly $4.7 million) in “special funding” for its Blockchain Trade Finance Platform. The money will be injected over a three-year period and has been earmarked for research and development.

The Blockchain Trade Finance Platform was launched by the PBoC in September 2018. There are currently over 35 banks who are part of the platform, which has helped process 87 billion yuan (~$12.4 billion) worth of transactions as of December 2019. It was also reported that the platform has helped reduce the time taken to process trade financing from over ten days to about 20 minutes.  Corporate financing costs have also declined to below 6%. Money well spent?

Paradigm leads Argent’s $12 million Series A

Sequoia crypto fund Paradigm has led digital wallet startup Argent’s $12 million Series A funding round. They joined founder of Compound Robert Leshner, Index Ventures, Creandum, and Firstminute Capital. It is Paradigm’s first investment in Europe. The London-based wallet startup has now raised $16 million since it was founded in December 2017.

Argent’s smart wallet lets users store, transfer, and receive cryptocurrencies and decentralised apps. Its aim is to achieve the same usability and security of a traditional banking app. It said it will use the funding to expand its team, both in its headquarters in London and across its global offices.

Argent chief and co-founder Itamar Lesuisse said: “This is a big step in our mission to help people control and benefit from their digital assets and identity. Crypto’s unfamiliar to many so we’ve cut out all the complexity and built a mobile wallet as simple as Monzo or Revolut, if not easier.”

Coronavirus hits markets…

The world is now fully in the grips of coronavirus. This weekend saw it hit the global financial markets, including crypto. US oil prices plummeted approximately 35% from $41.5 to $27.2 – the lowest price level since the Gulf War in 1991. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) futures fell some 4.8%, while Dow Jones futures are at 5.05%.

Over the weekend there was a significant correction for the major crypto coins too, which saw Bitcoin fall from over US$9,000 to below US$8,000. The big question now is whether this is part of a deeper sell off linked to the coronavirus and whether we could see trading in line with the main markets.

According to Coindesk, however, some analysts believe that Bitcoin actually began its sudden crash due to another giant sell-off from the PlusToken pyramid scheme. What do you think? Let us know on Twitter.

…But coronavirus collectibles are now a thing

At least someone is having fun, though. San Francisco-based visual artist and crypto investor, Jaclyn Santos has created a series of 18 blockchain-based collectible bats called Corona Babies. They are designed to be a commemorative, unique token of the Coronavirus. The non-fungible token absolutely no one in the world was asking for.

Keep reading…

Top crypto trends to watch out for in 2020

Bitcoin futures are growing in popularity, but what are they?

Why emerging markets must embrace the power of crypto

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