Bitcoin has already faced mounting price trouble as the week kicks off. After reaching a high of about $9,800 in earlier trading Monday, March 12, bitcoin prices fell as low as about $9,200 by afternoon trading. Here are the stories you need to know Monday.
Joseph Lubin, cofounder of the ethereum cryptocurrency platform, said that his digital currency has the potential to disrupt the world’s most powerful tech companies. Speaking at the South by Southwest Interactive conference, Lubin explained that the ethereum platform could provide a more secure means of data storage and better consumer trust than is currently available for social media and internet companies. “On the web right now, I would argue that identity is broken,” Lubin said. “We spray aspects of our identity around the web, it’s stored on corporate servers and is monetized by corporations, and often aspects of your identity aren’t well secured by those organizations.”
How Do You Feel?
Thomson Reuters wants to find out. The media giant’s MarketPsych Indices product on Monday launched a new bitcoin data feed designed to gauge investor sentiment surrounding cryptocurrencies, according to Coindesk. The product will utilize artificial intelligence to sift through more than 400 sources of data using metrics including “greed” and “fear.” The feed will come in handy for investors looking to sell when greed gets too high or buy when fear overtakes markets, for example. “Our customers can use it to generate alpha,” said global head of Thomson Reuters quant and feeds division Austin Burkett. “They can drive positive investment returns. They can use it to better balance the risk in their portfolios.”
HBO’s John Oliver Weighs In
In a 25-minute segment on his Sunday, March 11, broadcast of “Last Week Tonight,” HBO’s John Oliver took on bitcoin and blockchain technology in a late-night tirade. Oliver described cryptocurrencies as “everything you don’t understand about money combined with everything you don’t understand about computers.” Oliver explained the notion of FOMO, or fear of missing out, that has driven “fervor” surrounding the digital currency space. “Like most currencies, the fundamental reason that bitcoin has value is because people agree that it has value. In fact, at the moment, it’s really being treated more like a speculative investment than a currency,” Oliver said. Oliver also brought up the fact that companies that have included blockchain in their descriptions or names have on average tripled their value in the time since implementing the change. He noted Long Blockchain Corp. (LBCC) , the company formerly known as Long Island Iced Tea Corp., joking that he wanted to change his show’s name to “Last Bit Tonight with Block Chainiver” to triple its ratings. “Right now, this market is essentially the wild west and is ripe for exploitation,” he said. The comedian concluded, “If you choose to invest in the cryptocurrency space, just know that you’re not investing, you’re gambling.”
Coincheck Starts Reimbursements
Coincheck, the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange that lost about $530 million in a hacking attack in January, has begun distributing reimbursements to affected customers. In a blog post Monday, Coincheck said it will refund users at a rate of 88.549 Japanese yen, or about 83 cents, per NEM token stolen. The compensation plan will result in about $420 million in total going back to Coincheck customers. The exchange first announced a compensation plan last week after facing a number of class action lawsuits and an investigation from Japan’s Financial Services Agency. Also on Monday, Coincheck announced that it is restarting some withdrawals and cryptocurrency trading on the site for a handful of coins including ethereum, bitcoin and four others. Coincheck said it will still take time to determine when the exchange will return to normal functioning capacity.
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