Cryptocurrency market cap dips below $250 billion – 7 April

Not many times in the past has it happened that the entire cryptocurrency market goes into bear run for three months in a row. The first quarter of 2018 has broken records and registers as the worst first quarter in the history of Bitcoin, and the second-worst quarter ever.

As we move into Q2, crypto analysts and experts are approaching the next few months with optimism despite what has gone before. If history is to be followed and noted, then Q2 holds a lot more promise and optimism.

All the FUD that started the negative growth are starting to ease, regulators are finding their balance, and even more unusual things like the end of Chinese New Year and tax-spending season can influence the second quarter positively.

So far as regulations go, we’re not completely out of the woods yet. Yesterday, India’s central bank banned regulated financial institutions from dealing in cryptocurrencies, citing the risks involved. American billionaire Tim Draper believes that India is making a big mistake by shutting its doors to cryptocurrencies. According to Draper, this will only lead to brain drain as many will be forced to move to other places, which are more crypto-friendly.

On the other hand, Japan, which is a major hub for crypto and Blockchain activity is facing shortage of software engineers. There are similar requirements at other places, where Blockchain professionals are in demand.

Coming back to price action, Thomas Lee, the head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors believes that the cryptocurrency’s sell offs will subside after the mid-April tax filing deadline. He has maintained his year-end targets of $25,000 for Bitcoin and $1,900 for Ethereum.

Since its initial fall from $7,500 to $6,500, bitcoin has not been able to secure momentum to recover to the $7,000 region. Although momentum oscillators including Williams’ Percent Range and Relative Strength Index (RSI) show oversold conditions, the market has not shown any intention to lead a new rally towards the $7,800 mark, which traders have considered as a major test for bitcoin since late March.

At the time of writing, the current correction remains as the third worst correction in the history of the bitcoin market, at a 72% decline from its all-time high.

Top Stories from the Crypto World

1. South Korea’s largest banks go pro-cryptocurrency as OmiseGo secures deal

South Korea’s largest commercial banks including Shinhan and Woori have continued to support cryptocurrency exchanges after Kookmin, the biggest bank in the country, denied to provide financial services to trading platforms.

Both Shinhan and Woori have supported a series of pro-blockchain and pro-cryptocurrency initiatives. In January, Shinhan, the second largest bank in South Korea, announced that it has begun the development of a bitcoin wallet and vault system with which bank users can safely store bitcoin in a cold wallet.

In February, Shinhan completed trials with Ripple Labs, utilizing the Ripple network and its liquidity system xRapid to send cross-border payments in a blockchain network.

In South Korea, upon the completion of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Shinhan and the Ethereum startup, Omise CEO Jun Hasegawa stated:

“Omise and OmiseGO are working to revolutionize the way digital value moves globally, with an end goal of creating a platform that facilitates a decentralized economy. The OMG platform, using the Plasma architecture, is being built as a public network that is powered by Ethereum.”

“The first phase of the wallet SDK was recently released and is available for anyone to use. We want to make it easy for those who need online asset exchange as part of their business to connect seamlessly to the OMG Network.”

2. Vitalik opposes fork to disable Ethereum ASICs

Vitalik Buterin is coming out against a proposal that would find the blockchain he created changing its software to limit the performance of mining hardware designed to yield a greater cut of the network’s rewards.

Buterin’s comments come in response to the launch of a new product by mining hardware supplier Bitmain earlier this week. Announced Tuesday, the Antminer E3 has already emerged as a topic of some controversy, with many ethereum developers coming out in favor of a fork that would effectively disable the hardware.

Buterin suggested the issue may not be worth the coordination required to make the change, stating:

“Getting everybody to upgrade is likely to be fairly chaotic and detract from more important things. So, at this point I personally lean quite significantly towards no action.”

3. Spanish tax authority seeks cryptocurrency users’ details from 60 companies

Spain’s official tax agency has reportedly sought names and trading data of cryptocurrency adopters by requesting the details from over 60 companies.

Citing an official from the Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria (AEAT), the revenue service of the kingdom of Spain, El Confidencial is reporting that the authority is launching the country’s biggest dragnet yet to look into tax evasion and money laundering via cryptocurrencies.

The AEAT has reportedly sent requests to 60 companies including banks, securities firms, cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto-accepting businesses to gather details including the identities of their crypto clients, bank details, payment card information and transactional amounts.

The move comes amid a broader crackdown on online tax evasion by Spanish authorities which extends to platforms like Airbnb.