WORLD NEWS: Last Week in Blockchain and Crypto

As world stocks and trade plummet amid the coronavirus crisis, crypto took the hardest hit last week when it dropped to its lowest since March 2019. Despite the destructive week almost bringing everything coming to a standstill, a glimmer of hope remains as nations now adapt to new ways of working, trading, and doing things.

Last week saw bitcoin price drop to $3,600 overnight, marking Bitcoin’s biggest daily drop in the last seven years. Over $1 billion worth of longs was liquidated on March 12, causing one of the most intense long squeezes in the crypto market’s recent history. A large portion of the daily cryptocurrency exchange market volume comes from futures trading platforms like BitMEX, OKEx, Binance Futures and FTX. This suggests that the majority of traders in the cryptocurrency market are trading major cryptocurrencies with borrowed capital.

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In line with the increasing number of industry events being delayed or canceled in response to the coronavirus outbreak, last week, it was announced that ConsenSys will not be hosting a conference in New York this year. Consensus, a major global cryptocurrency and blockchain-focused event, is yet another industry conference that has had to change its plans due to intensifying coronavirus fears. However, that doesn’t mean that Consensus 2020, the industry-leading event, will not happen. The event will now be a “completely virtual experience,” allowing attendees from all over the globe to join the event online at no charge.

Last week, the Italian Red Cross announced that it is raising donations in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to fight the country’s coronavirus pandemic. Proceeds from the campaign will reportedly be used to set up a second-level advanced medical post for pre-triage of COVID-19 cases in the country, and it is expected to reach a goal of €10,000 to buy the necessary medical equipment for the infrastructure.

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Last week, Standard Chartered became the first bank to join TradeLens, the global blockchain shipping platform created by IBM and Maersk saying it has the potential to promote the sustainability agenda of many stakeholders in international trade. As a participant institution, Standard Chartered will now be able to validate the authenticity of shipments in real-time using documents securely exchanged between networked entities.  TradeLens’ 150+ members include international port and terminal operators, ocean carriers and intermodal providers, customs authorities, freight forwarders, logistics firms, government authorities and cargo owners.

Last week, the Bank of England (BoE) released a 57-page report examining how CBDCs could be introduced to existing markets, performing as both a store of value and used in everyday transactions. BoE is seriously weighing the pros and cons of issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) denominated in pounds sterling. Britain’s central bank recognized that a digital pound could be destabilizing for the current banking system. However, a digital currency could utilize the latest FinTech and make transactions easier and faster for consumers. The report, titled “Central Bank Digital Currency March 2020: Opportunities, Challenges and Design” follows discussions by government officials as they explore shifting to a digital economy.


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