Bitcoin’s biggest wallets keep getting bigger. According to a Bitcoin.com report, a hundred of the largest wallets have accumulated thousands coins since the start of 2019. Some of the concentration occurred over the course of half an hour on February 24, when a strengthening crypto market retrenched around 10% before steadying and resuming its upward crawl. “These ups and downs have allowed large BTC and BCH holders to capture coins at a cheaper rate every time prices have dropped and whales have managed to stockpile thousands of coins,” Jamie Redman reports. “The large drop on Feb. 24 was no different and whales managed to get a lot more BCH and BTC immediately after crypto prices were slashed.” His reporting is consistent with earlier findings that, although it’s difficult to tell who owns a wallet unless it’s held on a centralized exchange’s own account, crypto wealth seems to be settling into long-dormant wallets.
If data is the new oil, why do we need blockchain to trade the old oil? Vakt, a blockchain-native firm formed in November 2018 to routinise commodity trading and eliminate text-based contracts, announced that it now participates in most of the trading of crude oil coming out of the North Sea. Initially backed by BP, Shell, Total and a couple trading houses, Vakt now claims to have recently added four new clients, which apparently puts the firm in striking distance of the 60% market share. CEO Etienne Amic, recently hired from JPMorgan Chase, considers that metric to be the “ignition point” that would “incentivize other people to join.” In addition to oil giants and traders, the supply chain-aligned process can also involve pipeline operators, port agents and inspectors, according to the company’s blog. The post also suggests that leading agricultural traders are looking to Vakt to perform similar services for their distribution channels.
Cisco reportedly invests in blockchain R&D. Networking giant Cisco opened its 14th R&D center in Singapore, the company announced, its first in east Asia. Although Cisco has been a bit cagey about what it intends to develop there, a Cointelegraph article suggests that blockchain, along with Internet of Things, will likely be a major focus, considering the company’s recent forays into this space. “Cisco has been actively developing blockchain technology in recent years. In 2017, the firm joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the world’s largest open-source blockchain initiative in July 2017,” Aaron Wood reports. “In March 2018, Cisco filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a method of confidential group communications based on blockchain technology. The patent intended to address common challenges faced by messaging groups.”
Coinbase supporting XRP. Coinbase, always the last kid in class to finish the exam but first to volunteer to clap erasers, has finally added support for Ripple – the world’s second- or third-highest capitalized cryptocurrency – to its pro-level users. On February 25, the centralized exchange began “accepting inbound transfers of XRP to Coinbase Pro. We will accept deposits for a minimum of 12 hours prior to enabling full trading,” according to its blog. “Once sufficient supply of XRP is established on the platform, trading on the XRP/USD, XRP/EUR, and XRP/BTC order books will start in phases, beginning with post-only mode and proceeding to full trading should our metrics for a healthy market be met.” Initially, this support will be available in the United States excluding, for some reason, New York, as well as the European Union, Canada, Singapore and Australia. Other venues might be added later. Coinbase is currently offering only transfer services, but plans to cascade into post-only, limit-only and eventually full trading.
Old, rich guys in the U.S. still hate crypto. Warren Buffet, the genius who runs turnaround firm Berkshire-Hathaway and is often cited as the most successful living investor, told CNBC that “Bitcoin has no unique value at all. … It’s a delusion.” Of course, this is the same guy who went over a year without buying anything that he believes does have value. Even so, he concedes that “blockchain is important” as a technology.
The best or notgeld. Daimler North America has jumped into the blockchain fray by deploying Hyperledger to improve transparency in its supply chains. Working with contract management consultancy Icertis, the Mercedes-Benz Cars division will leverage blockchain technology to “to fundamentally revolutionize our procurement processes, and could affect nearly the entire value chain,” according to one executive. “Global supply chains are becoming increasingly complex. With our Blockchain-prototype, we are in the first step testing one of diverse possible applications with the aim of increasing transparancy beyond our direct suppliers.”
LOOKING FORWARD: We reported last week on a small settlement in Norway that aspires to be a crypto city, but now we’ve found someone with even more ambition. Bitcoin.com recently profiled 19-year-old Leo Beltran, who wants to make his native Buenos Aires a bitcoin-friendly city. He’s going old-tech, posting fliers around town, but his goal is very 21st-century. “The thing that made me fall in love with cryptocurrencies in general, and bitcoin in particular, was that it could financially connect people on the internet the same way it connects them in the real world,” Beltran says. “If even a single business contacts me saying that they want to try the technology in their operations, that will already be a big success.” … India might finally be forced to make up its mind about how it’s going to treat crypto. Bitcoin.com reports that the nation’s Supreme Court has given its Finance Ministry four weeks to draw up “a clear regulatory framework.” The framework so far has been less than clear, and the court recently upheld a Reserve Bank of India prohibition banning banks from exchanging rupees for crypto.