Damning new surveys suggest Facebook users don’t trust Libra, John McAfee arrested on yacht carrying weapons, and Justin Sun weathered by money laundering allegation.
Coming every Sunday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Mark Zuckerberg turned on the charm offensive this week in an attempt to reassure governments and central banks that his social network is taking their concerns about Libra to heart. On a conference call, he told investors that Facebook has changed — and his company was no longer in the business of releasing products without prior warning. The CEO vowed its cryptocurrency would only debut when regulatory issues are ironed out, plunging 2020 launch plans into doubt. Another bombshell came on Wednesday when the CEO of Visa said no companies have officially joined the Libra Foundation, as they have only signed a nonbinding letter of intent. The day before, it emerged several fake pages posing as official channels for Libra were circulating on Facebook and Instagram — and they were only removed when the Washington Post alerted the tech giant that they existed.
While Facebook tries to win the hearts and minds of regulators, there’s a risk it may be losing sight of an even bigger hurdle: winning over the public. A CivicScience poll this week revealed that just 2% of Americans trust Libra more than Bitcoin (BTC). Not good. Another survey suggested that only 12% of people in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, are welcoming of the stablecoin. Not good. A third survey suggests that 49% of Facebook users in the United Kingdom and the United States would not put trust in the social media giant at all. Very bad. There’s little point in appeasing regulators if your own user base is wary about the product. What remains to be seen is whether Facebook needs to embark on an aggressive marketing campaign to bring them back on side or if users will shrug off their concerns and embrace Libra when the product finally lands.
Tron (TRX) founder Justin Sun has had quite the week. On Tuesday, he made an extensive list of denials — rejecting accusations of illegal fundraising, facilitating adult video transactions, gambling and money laundering. Later that day, he posted a live video from San Francisco in a bid to quash reports that has been banned from leaving China by the authorities. Also this week, Sun postponed a planned lunch with Warren Buffett indefinitely, blaming kidney stones. Billionaire Buffett, a renowned crypto skeptic, was probably thrilled by that. In another bizarre twist, Sun penned an online apology for “over-marketing” and then deleted it. The drama has seen Tron suffer hefty losses of more than 9% in recent days — and prices have fallen further since.
After clinging on to its five-figure price point for several days, BTC succumbed to pressure and slipped back into the thousands on Wednesday. Although prices later recovered to $10,180, a sudden crash on Saturday saw BTC tumble by $800 in 15 minutes, leaving traders scratching their heads. It hasn’t all been bad news, though. Data suggests that the amount of Bitcoin that has not been moved for at least five years has reached an all-time high. A total of 3.8 million BTC — worth more than $37.3 billion at the time of writing — has been left untouched since 2014. Coin Metrics, the crypto data firm behind the research, says this proves Bitcoin is increasingly becoming a store of value as opposed to a medium of exchange.
Tehran could be about to recognize crypto as an official industry and approve a mechanism for mining. Iran has been a hotbed of activity for mining in recent months because of the country’s cheap electricity rates. Now, officials want to legalize the process in an attempt to boost tax revenues, amid concern that the BTC mined on its soil is escaping abroad.
Winners and Losers
At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $9.527.45, Ether at $210.19 and XRP at $0.31. The total market cap is at $264,072,410,254.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Regalcoin, Dexter G and Xchange. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Bolenum, Claymore and SpectrumNetwork.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“Can a person run for, and be, President of the United States and Prime Minister of Great Britain simultaneously? Yes. Absolutely. Without question. But I believe I am one of the few people still alive who could qualify for the combined position.”
– John McAfee, jailbird and aspiring politician
“I won’t be talking about Bitcoin in 10 years, I can assure you that […] I would bet even in five or six years, I’m no longer talking about Bitcoin as Treasury Secretary. I’ll have other priorities. […] I can assure you I will personally not be loaded up on Bitcoin.”
– Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury Secretary
“To me, [Libra] suggests that Facebook’s almost trying to turn itself into its own country. It’s a global organization that doesn’t have physical boundaries but basically has a global community who are solely under the oversight of Mark Zuckerberg.”
– Damian Collins, British MP
“I think all these other cryptos are bridges to where we have a Bitcoin environment.”
– Tim Draper, billionaire
“Especially given the discussions around Libra and the rebound in Bitcoin, there’s heightened interest again.”
– Tim Hockey, TD Ameritrade CEO
“Cryptocurrency will survive regardless of any one country. Most countries that try to ban bitcoin cause their citizens to want cryptocurrency more.”
– Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO
“While regulatory innovation in the era of industrialization was a matter of choice, it is now a question of survival as we are experiencing the fourth industrial revolution, characterized by fusions across industries and fields.”
– Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea
“Facebook has an enormous worldwide network and enormous financial muscle. […] But the only way Libra will work well as a medium of exchange is if everyone can trust it. And that’s the big question right now: whether there is going to be enough trust in Facebook.”
– Eswar Prasad, economics professor at Cornell University
Prediction of the Week
It’s prediction time! Dan Morehead, the founder of Pantera Capital, has dusted off his crystal ball to forecast that BTC could hit $42,000 by the end of this year — and an unnervingly precise $356,000 by 2022. Morehead claimed such prices would be consistent with Bitcoin’s logarithmic growth rate, adding, “I know this sounds crazy but we’re essentially halfway back there.” He went on to predict that crypto enthusiasts will end up waiting a long time for a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund and warned that most altcoins will fall by the wayside.
FUD of the Week
After a long-running drama, private cryptocurrencies could be a thing of the past in India once and for all. A government panel has officially recommended hefty fines of up to $3.6 million for anyone caught dealing in digital currencies — and even jail terms of 10 years. Draft legislation is now going to be examined, but given the government has previously compared crypto to Ponzi schemes, it’s almost certain that the proposals will be accepted in full. There was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, as the panel has urged the government to consider launching an official digital currency through the Reserve Bank of India.
Crypto enthusiast John McAfee was arrested onboard his yacht in the Dominican Republic this week, with reports suggesting that authorities seized high-caliber weapons, ammunition and military equipment from the vessel. The millionaire later posted pictures as he left detention after four days of confinement. Hours later, he was detained again. McAfee shared a photo of himself lounging topless on a bare bunk bed, writing: “My second arrest in one week — a record I think.” Although run-ins with the police normally spell disaster for presidential campaigns, the entrepreneur is undeterred — and McAfee now says he wants to run for the “combined” position of U.S. president and U.K. prime minister. Okay, John!
If you’re a hodler in the U.S., you might be getting a missive from the taxman through your letterbox soon. The Internal Revenue Service has written to 10,000 investors — asking some to amend their filings and others to catch up on back payments. However, those who receive the letters might not have done anything wrong. Tyson Cross, a crypto tax attorney, claims some of his clients have been contacted, even though they have accurately reported their earnings. He believes the campaign amounts to a “fishing attempt” by the IRS — and is urging investors to stay calm if the letter lands on their doormat.
Best Cointelegraph Features
Earlier in July, a Chinese court legally recognized Bitcoin and ruled that it should now be considered as digital property. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that attitudes toward BTC and other cryptocurrencies are going to change. Here, we explore China’s complicated relationship with digital currencies and examine what the ruling means.
U.S. politicians and David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s Calibra wallet, recently had a two-day showdown in Washington, D.C. The hearings have garnered a mixed reaction. Here’s our roundup of what the crypto community had to say.