Blockchain can save food industry $31 billion by 2024 according to a new research. View in browser

“Bitcoin isn’t about getting your money out of your country. It’s about getting your country out of your money” ~ Farbood Nivi, CEO of Coinmine

Market State

During the last week the cryptocurrency market showed nice recovery and bounced back above $200 billion however the market continued its downward movement dropped to $199 billion. Bitcoin is trading around $7350, practically it hasn’t changed compared to last week. Most coins are seeing gains and losses in the 1-3% range since last week. UPbit, South Korea's largest cryptocurrency exchange suffered a $50 million loss as a result of hack, which cause the price of Bitcoin to dip below $7000 briefly. Privacy focused cryptocurrency, Monero has been delisted from BitBay exchange due to money laundering concerns. At least five Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges have announced they will no longer serve users in China but will continue to focus on users abroad due to recent warning against cryptocurrency trading.

Meanwhile banks in Germany will be allowed to offer cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency custody service for its customers starting from the 1st of January, 2020. Also blockchain technology is increasingly being used in other industries such as in humanitarian sector and in the fields of food. The Red Cross has already started using blockchain to help boost local economies in Africa. A recent research from Juniper Research suggested that the food industry can save up to $31 billion till 2024 using blockchain technology that increases traceability and transparency at significantly cheaper rate.

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Quiz of the week

What is Cold Storage?

  1. Performing a transaction anonymously.
  2. Storing your private keys offline.
  3. Running a node offline.

Scroll down to see the answer at the end of the newsletter.

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Top stories of the week
German Banks Will Be Allowed to Offer Cryptocurrencies from 2020

On the 29 of November, 2019 the German federal parliament, the Bundestag passed a bill that will allow German banks to sell and store cryptocurrencies from 2020. According to the local news agency Handelsblatt the new law - which is implementing the amendments of the fourth EU Money Laundering Directive required by the fifth EU Money Laundering Directive and is expected to be signed off by the nation's 16 states - amended the existing anti-money laundering regulation that previously prohibited German banks from providing cryptocurrency related services. The new law will take effect from the 1st of January, 2020. The banks and existing cryptocurrency custody providers will need to acquire a license to offer cryptoasset custodial services from Germany’s financial supervisory authority, BaFin. Sven Hildebrandt, head of DLC, a German based crypto consulting firm told the Handelsblatt "Germany is well on its way to becoming a crypto heaven. The German legislator is playing a pioneering role in the regulation of cryptocurrency. This will lead institutional investors to come to Germany, as they want security and regulation."

Blockchain Can Save $31 Billion globally by 2024 By Preventing Food Fraud

A new report by Juniper Research suggests that blockchain can be a major use case in the food industry. The research found out that blockchain could save up to $31 billion in food fraud savings globally by 2024 by tracking food from farms to retailers and to consumers. The research also revealed that combining the Internet of Things (IoT) with blockchain can revolutionise the food industry. While IoT sensors collect data by monitoring the temperature and humidity and the whereabouts of the products, blockchain immutably records these data on the decentralized ledger which is available to every player in the process. Retailers could achieve significant reduction in costs, efficient food recall processes and simpler regulatory compliance by using automated smart contracts, blockchain and the IoT. Juniper Research recommends that blockchain vendors seek IoT partnerships to appeal to stakeholders across the food production market.

US Authorities Arrested Ethereum Research Scientist for Assisting North Korea in Evading Sanctions

Manhattan U.S. Attorney and the FBI have announced that Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum research scientist was arrested on the 29th of November for helping the North Korean government on how to use cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions designed to restrict its nuclear programme. In April, 2019 Griffith traveled to North Korea to attend and present at the “Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference” despite his permission to travel to the country was refused by the US. Griffith will be charged with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison. Griffith’s arrest created quite a stir within the crypto community. Many people have said that talking about blockchain related publicly available information is included in the freedom of speech and it is absurd to be imprisoned for this act. According to many Griffith is a man of peace, who served not the North Korean government but oppressed citizens of North Korea through his “Blockchain and Peace” speech. However others said Griffith deliberately went against the US ban to travel to North Korea and intentionally violated the law and must face the consequences. Griffith supporters have launched a petition to advocate his release. Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin have already signed the petition to free Griffith. Buterin said on Twitter “I hope USA shows strength rather than weakness and focuses on genuine and harmful corruption that it and all countries struggle with rather than going after programmers delivering speeches parroting public information.”

Red Cross of Norway, Denmark and Kenya Adopt Blockchain Technology to Boost Aid Delivery

The Red Cross, the largest humanitarian donor after the United Nations is using a blockchain-based currency scheme to enhance aid delivery and boost local economies. On the 26th of November the Red Cross societies of Norway, Denmark, and Kenya, launched a two-year plan to replace cash and voucher provision in aid with blockchain backed local currencies. Lack of cash is a common problem in rural, unbanked communities in Ethiopia and Kenya. This leads to bartering and transactions are recorded on paper according to Reuters report. Every year the Red Cross distributes $1 billion as cash and vouchers to help people living in disaster-prone areas. The Red Cross aims to improve the use of $1 billion annual aid with blockchain technology. The new blockchain scheme will allow villagers in Kenya to earn digital credits for their work, which can be exchanged for local goods and services. The credits are transferred by a simple feature mobile phone and automatically recorded on a blockchain. The project has already been tested in parts of Kenya and Ethiopia and is planned to roll out in Malawi, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Papua New Guinea in the future.

South Korean Crypto Exchange UPbit Hacked

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange UPbit has been hacked, losing nearly $51.3 million in Ether. Lee Seok-woo, the CEO of the exchange confirmed that 342 000 ETH had been transferred from an UPbit hot wallet on November 27th. Deposits and withdrawals from UPbit have been suspended for at least two weeks while an investigation is conducted. UpBit said it will cover losses with corporate funds. In the wake of the incident, the exchange has moved all its cryptoassets into cold storage. The stolen fund was sent to unknown wallets, which are tagged “UPbit hacker” and being tracked by Etherscan. Now that the wallets are being watched closely it will be difficult for the hacker to sell such a large amount of Ether. Many people have sent small amounts of ether to the wallet so they can track further movement of the stolen funds using a technique called a dusting attack. Some of the transactions even included notes asking the hacker to share some Ether with them. UPbit’s hack is a great reminder of dangers of storing your coins on an exchange. Take care of your crypto by removing them from your exchange.

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Quiz answer

What is Cold Storage?

The correct answer is “B”.

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