Bitcoin’s dominance goes below 40%. Ripple overtakes Ethereum! – Dec 29

Bitcoin price looked as if it will stabilize around $14,500, but the pullback continued and the prices reached as low as $12,900 on some exchanges. At the time of writing, the cryptocurrency is trading at $13,583 – posting a decline of 11% and market cap of $227 billion.

As per analysts, Bitcoin price rally has been stalled on reports that South Korea is ramping up its efforts to curb Bitcoin trading. Notably, South Korea sits at one of the top spots in terms of crypto activity, so restrictions from the government would imply lower volumes.

These days, volumes have slowed down broadly amongst the cryptocurrency markets, which is probably due the holiday season. For instance, Bitcoin transactions have declined since the peak around 490,000. This trend has been matched through Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin.

Interestingly, Ethereum continues to process the highest number of transactions per day, almost double that of BTC — mainly because of the tokens built on top of Ethereum. However, the average value of a BTC transaction is over 10x greater than ETH.

Bitcoin’s inability to do fast transactions and high fees continue to a problem for its adoption. Some analysts believe that some other cryptocurrency could overtake Bitcoin in the coming years if Core developers fail to solve its scaling issues quickly.

SegWit, which reduces the size of each transaction and therefore makes the transaction cheaper, continues to have around 10% adoption. Major exchanges (like Coinbase/GDAX) have been ignoring SegWit integration for the longest time, because, well, they make decent money off high fees. That being said, the lightning network will eventually be implemented on the mainnet. See second news below.

Bitcoin has had rough a ride for the past 10 days, primarily due to the rising popularity of alternative cryptocurrencies like Ripple and Ethereum. Based on the current trend, it is likely that Bitcoin will close the year at above $15,000.

Top Stories from the Crypto World

1. Ripple market cap approaches $100 billion market cap

The rise of Ripple has been astonishing, to say the least. The prices have shot up to more than 70% in the past 24 hours, and the market cap is $1 billion shy of $100 billion!

The massive spike comes just over a week after the coin broke $1 for the first time last Thursday. The majority of demand for Ripple is coming from, you guessed it, South Korea!

In the past 24 hours, Bithumb, largest South Korean exchange, has accounted for 28% of total Ripple volume – $2.9 billion. At the time of writing, Ripple is trading at a premium of $3.04 in South Korea, while it is at $2.54 on global exchanges.

The demand for Ripple has surged in the two countries because of the partnership between Japanese banks led by SBI Ripple Asia and South Korean financial conglomerates to integrate Ripple’s blockchain-based technologies by January 2018.

Ripple Labs and the developers of the Ripple network expected many billions of dollars to be processed on the RIpple network on a regular basis.

2. Bitrefill runs successful lightning transaction test

A recent transaction posted on Twitter from inside the offices of prepaid phone payment provider, Bitrefill, used the Lightning network to top up a mobile (for real) at near instant speed with zero fees.

While such transaction is not yet generally available to the public and may still be largely limited to command line interfaces, it nonetheless gives a peek into how the future may look like for regular Bitcoin users.

Lightning has been one of the most watched Bitcoin-scaling solutions. Faster and cheaper bitcoin transactions may soon go alive.

3. Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies are like Ponzi schemes, says Indian government

India’s Ministry of Finance issued a statement today cautioning people ‘against risks investing in virtual currencies including Bitcoin’, claiming they lack intrinsic value and aren’t backed by any assets. ‘Mere speculation’ is driving prices of bitcoin and other virtual currencies, the finance ministry said.

Cryptocurrencies aren’t backed by government fiat money and aren’t considered a legal tender, the finance ministry added, adding that their transactions are encrypted and are therefore ‘likely’ being used for illegal activities such as ‘terror-funding, smuggling, drug trafficking and other money-laundering acts.’

An excerpt from the notice read:

“There is a real and heightened risk of investment bubble of the type seen in Ponzi schemes which can result in sudden and prolonged crash exposing investors, especially retail consumers losing their hard-earned money. Consumers need to be alert and extremely cautious as to avoid getting trapped in such Ponzi schemes.”