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Dollar Tanks as Bakkt Breaks Records — Crypto News of the Week

2020.08.01 Adam James

It’s been an eventful week in the cryptocurrency world. Ledger detailed its unintentional leaking of user information and Cardano’s Shelley hard fork finally came to fruition. Meanwhile, the United States dollar is tanking, while Bakkt Bitcoin futures are experiencing record volume. 

These stories and more in this week’s edition of Crypto News of the Week!

Ledger database breach exposed users’ information

Earlier this week, Ledger detailed a data breach that occurred in June, which saw its marketing and e-commerce database exposed. 

In a blog post published on Wednesday, the popular hardware wallet company explained that a bounty program participant uncovered a potential hole in Ledger’s website on July 14. However, an investigation from the company revealed that the security flaw had already been exploited on June 25. Specifically, the affected database was compromised via a now-deactivated API key.

Ledger has since filed a report with France’s Data Protection Authority and teamed up with Orange Cyberdefense in an effort to shore up its privacy and security measures while assessing potential damages.

Key takeaways:

  • Though Ledger hardware wallets themselves are unaffected and users’ crypto funds are not compromised, some may find a security-focused company’s leaking of users’ information disconcerting.
  • The incident also highlights the benefit of bug bounty programs, despite the flaw being uncovered after the damage had already been done.

Bakkt breaks records in its strongest week ever

It’s been a record-setting week for Bakkt, which saw its physically settled monthly Bitcoin futures market hit a new all-time high on Monday. The institutional-focused subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange saw 11,509 coins — worth approximately $114 million — in single-day trading volume. 

It then followed up with another record-setting day on Tuesday before boasting of another record-breaking trading day on Wednesday.

Key takeaways:

  • Institutional interest in BTC is clearly picking up. Monday’s high, alone, represented an 84% increase from Bakkt’s previous all-time high set in December 2019.
  • Bakkt is not the only exchange experiencing a major uptick in Bitcoin futures trading. CME Group has also published data that shows a surge in daily exchange volume.
Chart showing Bakkt Bitcoin Futures’ total open interest & volume in USD. Source: skew

Cardano’s Shelley hard fork finally goes live

After nearly half a decade of development, Cardano finally launched its Shelley hard fork.

The upgrade introduces long-awaited staking features and delegations. Accounts with large amounts of Cardano’s native currency, ADA, will be able to stake it in an effort to validate the network and, in doing so, earn rewards.

The official launch of Shelley follows a previous incentivized testnet, which saw participants permanently rewarded.

Key takeaways:

  • Cardano has often been criticized for its slow development. However, the Shelley hard fork will go a long way toward solidifying faith in the project’s somewhat slow and careful development approach.
  • Shelley is by no means the final stage of Cardano. The next major upgrades on the popular altcoin’s roadmap are the Voltaire and Goguen phases, which will affect governance and smart contract functionality.
Cardano's ADA price chart over the past 365 days. Source: CoinGecko
Cardano’s ADA price chart over the past 365 days. Source: CoinGecko

Bank of England reportedly building in support for CBDCs

The Bank of England is reportedly designing its upcoming real-time gross settlement service to support central bank digital currencies, such as a digital pound. As reported by CoinDesk, the BoE’s payment network — used by financial institutions in the United Kingdom — could “bolt on” support for digital currency transactions.

The news follows reports that the Bank of Japan is making digital currencies a “top priority.”

Key takeaway:

  • The BoE’s settlement service settles 685 billion British pounds per day and represents a core component of the nation’s payment infrastructure.
  • Though seemingly not designed specifically around a central bank digital currency, the redesigned settlement service will reportedly be forwards-compatible with CBDCs — further illustrating how central banks are preparing for a future that is heavy with digital currencies.

U.S. dollar nears its worst month in a decade

The value of the United States dollar has fallen to two-year lows this week and is expected to close its worst month in a decade. USD has fallen nearly 5% in July, a drop not seen since September 2010.

Confidence in the currency is falling amid the country’s prolonged struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented suggestion from President Donald Trump that the presidential election might be delayed. GDP has also pulled back an annualized 32.9% in Q2 — a contraction of intensity not seen since the Great Depression.

Key takeaways:

  • The USD’s status as the global reserve currency is becoming increasingly tenuous, as faith in the stability of the country continues to fall following widespread protests, highly visible political division, and the botched handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As the value of the USD declines, the prices of gold, silver and Bitcoin have climbed to varying degrees. Gold, specifically, has hit record highs.
U.S. Dollar Currency Index (DXY) daily chart. Source: TradingView
U.S. Dollar Currency Index (DXY) daily chart. Source: TradingView

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