The final part of our four-part review of crypto in 2019 looks back at October-December, which saw Facebook’s Libra project gradually fall apart, China go all in on blockchain, and the massive OneCoin scam gain worldwide traction thanks to a BBC podcast.
Libra Comes Off The Rails
The final quarter of 2019 saw Facebook’s Libra project begin to fall apart. Having suffered from governmental pushback and a media shitstorm, Libra’s high profile backers had clearly had enough of being associated with the project and decided to abandon it.
PayPal started the ball rolling by pulling out of the Libra Association in the first days of October, followed by eBay, Mastercard, Stripe, and Visa, among others. Nevertheless, Facebook continued to press on with development, claiming that, although disappointed in the actions of the backers, it had many companies lining up to replace them. To make matters worse, they were also on the receiving end of a lawsuit from crypto project Current who accused them of copying their logo.
Bitcoin Goes Wild as China Goes Big on Blockchain
China once again stole the headlines this quarter, with president Xi Jinping stating in late October that the country was going all in on blockchain technology. This news caused a monumental $2,000 jump in the Bitcoin price, despite Bitcoin still being the arch nemesis of the country and nowhere near their plans, with one of the biggest volume spikes the token had ever seen.
However, the blistering pace could not be continued, and the price spent the next month until mid-November slowly drifting back down to $6,500, some $1,000 less than where it had been prior to the China news, although some claimed interference from other sources.
CME Futures have opened at 5PM…This is 15 minutes candle.
But don’t worry, it has nothing to do with CME. All good!! Nothing to see here. pic.twitter.com/gDawvwJNfV
— Bitcoin, Gold, Silver & Geopolitics (@Super_Crypto) November 25, 2019
Telegram finally caught the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in mid-October, when, after allowing US investors to contribute to the various rounds of the $1.7 billion ICO, it issued emergency action to halt the distribution of the tokens, forcing the company to acquiesce and halt its distribution plans.
Bitcoin Manipulation Raises its Head
Bitcoin manipulation had been a hot topic throughout 2019, including renewed suggestions that Tether printing had been behind the 2017 bull run, and further evidence of price manipulation came in late October through former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) chairman Christopher Giancarlo.
Giancarlo explained how the CFTC, the Treasury, the SEC, and the National Economic Council director at the time, Gary Cohn, intentionally helped burst the Bitcoin bubble by allowing the Cboe and CME to launch Bitcoin futures platforms. This news backed up an interview BitStarz News conducted with Bitcoin futures suppression theorist Super Crypto.
Wu’s Coup and OneCoin’s Comeuppance
October ended with a sensational attempt from Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu to launch a coup and regain control of the company while then CEO Micree Zhan was abroad in London. The news came after a torrid 2019 for the company which had seen their IPO sink without a trace and competitors, including a little-known Russian mining company, threaten to take a chunk out of Bitmain’s mining dominance.
The OneCoin scam hit the headlines once again in the latter part of the year, mainly thanks to a high profile BBC podcast that went on the hunt for OneCoin founder Dr Ruja Ignatova. OneCoin’s former lawyer, Mark Scott, was also up in court on money laundering charges, of which he was found guilty in November, while former CEO Konstantin Ignatov pleaded guilty to several similar charges, finally revealing what everyone already knew – OneCoin was a “fraud scheme”.
November saw Bakkt controversially launch a cash-settled futures platform, undermining the importance of the Bitcoin-backed offering that had been deemed so important for institutional adoption. This was matched by a continued fall in the Bitcoin price, with the
Adoption and Regulations Battle it Out
Regulations JPMorgan, HSBC, Microsoft, and the five BRICS nations were among the biggest adopters of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology during this period, ensuring that 2019 ended on a high as far as adoption was concerned. China started a crackdown on cryptocurrency entities in Shanghai in November, paving the way for their national coin in 2020, while Ukranians were suddenly required by law to declare the crypto holdings, as well as those of family members.
Forthcoming regulations also made themselves felt in December, as the full impact of the AMLD5 rules, which come into effect in January 2020, caused several smaller crypto companies to shut up shop due to inability, or a lack of desire, to comply with them.
December also saw Countinghouse, the crypto fund that looked to have beaten the bear market, losing $40 million in investors’ money to alleged scammers. Outraged and sceptical investors quickly came together to take legal action, with many believing the ‘sale’ was simply an exit scam strategy.
HEX Casts a Spell on Investors
2019 ended in fitting style with the launch of HEX, one of the clearest scams in the crypto space. Devised and launched by former anti-ageing remedy salesman Richard Heart, the scheme purported to be a Certificate of Deposit, with the sole purpose of going up in value, promising investors huge returns if they staked for multiple years. The scheme raised $5.5 million in ETH from investors, but has several huge question marks over its legality, with most in the space waiting for the day Heart exit scams with the money.
2020 Set to Bring the Noise
2019 was another classic year for crypto, with every day bringing a new drama of some sort, and with the Bitcoin halving, the potential for Facebook and China to launch their own tokens, and Craig Wright still hell bent on proving he invented Bitcoin, 2020 looks to be nothing less than just as explosive.