Yesterday, on March 6, the global cryptocurrency market moved closer to the $500 billion mark, as it peaked at $475 billion. Today, the market dropped by nearly $30 billion in value, as major cryptocurrencies recorded losses. On March 5, the price of Ripple gained momentum due to unverified rumors which claimed Coinbase, the world’s largest cryptocurrency brokerage and wallet platform, will integrate Ripple this week. The price of the cryptocurrency could fall by large margins. Over the past 24 hours, almost immediately after Coinbase released an official announcement that clarified the company’s plans to not add any new asset on the Coinbase trading platform or GDAX in the short-term, the price of Ripple fell by more than 11 percent. The official statement of Coinbase read, “our January 4th, 2018 statement continues to stand: we have made no decision to add additional assets to either GDAX or Coinbase. Any statement to the contrary is untrue and not authorized by the company.”
Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple — a US-based payment network and protocol company — spoke with Cointelegraph at the Blockchain Connect conference in San Francisco earlier this year about what problems Ripple can solve in the global marketplace, and the company’s approach to government regulation and traditional finance. Garlinghouse, a Harvard Business School graduate, previously worked at various positions at Yahoo!, including Senior Vice President, and AOL, where he was President of Consumer Applications. Garlinghouse has also served on the board of Ancestry.com, Tonic Health, and Animoto. Ripple, whose native currency is XRP, has partnered with over 100 companies and financial institutions to send money worldwide using Ripple’s Blockchain-based technology.
Liechtenstein lending institution Bank Frick now offers “direct investment” and cold storage of five cryptocurrencies, it announced in a press release Feb. 28, noting it is the “first” financial instituion in the country to do so. Aimed primarily at “professional market participants and financial intermediaries,” according to Frick, investment and storage is offered for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple and Ether. The bank, which was founded in 1998, has sought to stand out from competition in the tiny European country, introducing a crypto investment and storage service that is “in demand” beyond its borders, it says. “Our services are in demand from companies across the whole of Europe,” chief client officer Hubert Büchel commented in the release. Despite Bank Frick being previously active in crypto-based products, the move appears to copy neighboring Switzerland, where institutions Vontobel and Falcon Private Bank have been offering exposure to crypto investments since as far back as 2016.
Crypto exchanges BTCXIndia and ETHEXIndia have informed their customers via email that they are stopping trading activities, citing the “stress” on their business caused by governmental actions discouraging crypto, local Indian news outlet the Economic Times reported yesterday, Feb. 28. BTCXIndia and ETHEXIndia’s websites both currently display a message to customers informing them that any deposits received after Jan.1 will automatically be sent back to the investor’s bank account. According to the email, BTCXIndia was opened in 2014, and the exchange then opened ETHEXIndia opened two years later. BTCXIndia customers are told they have until March 4, 2018 to withdraw their funds in either Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), or the rupee (INR) before an annual wallet maintenance fee is applied. The exchange’s Ripple/INR trading will be halted on March 5.
Bitcoin may be off limits, but the coffee chain is not overlooking the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies. Howard Schultz, Starbucks executive chairman and the face behind the brand, suggested blockchain could very well be part of the coffee retailer’s future, pointing to the possibility of a “proprietary digital currency integrated into our application.” It’s interesting because Schultz on the company’s latest earnings call suggested they weren’t developing their own cryptocurrency nor investing in any blockchain startups. But he did at that time point to the blockchain for eventually delivering a “consumer application” for cryptos. If you’re thinking Ripple’s XRP would have been ideal, consider that Ripple chief Brad Garlinghouse doesn’t consider XRP a cryptocurrency. Starbucks, which is spearheading its maiden “cashless store” in Seattle, has embraced mobile tech payments. “Over the last four-to-five years, Starbucks has created a proxy for a mobile digital payments system,” said Schultz on Fox Business, pointing to the fact that 50% of the company’s tender is paid for with people’s smartphones. Meanwhile, in China, which is a leader in mobile payments, nearly three-quarters of the business is cashless.