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BTC nerves, XRP bombshell, Libra rebrand: Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 28–Dec. 5

BTC nerves, XRP bombshell, Libra rebrand: Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 28–Dec. 5

Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Bitcoin price hits new all-time high as crypto market matures

It’s happened! This week, Bitcoin officially reached an all-time high above $19,892 for the first time in almost three years after enjoying a rebound over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Unfortunately, Tuesday’s new record didn’t bring the fireworks many hoped for. All-time highs were only reached on a couple of exchanges. Soon afterwards, BTC suffered a violent rejection near $20,000 — falling to $19,000 in under 10 minutes.

After the flash crash, pseudonymous trader CryptoBull tweeted: “Worth noting that a $1,000 swing is just 5% now. Adjust accordingly.”

Later that day, Reuters took the crypto world by surprise after an unusually positive story: “Dollar plummets on U.S. stimulus hopes; bitcoin hits all-time peak.” The world’s oldest mining pool later immortalized that headline in a block.

As the week progressed, BTC struggled to return to the high $19,000s, and on Friday, it suffered yet another rejection at $19,500, making traders nervous.

While some believe BTC is undergoing a consolidation phase and could suffer another minor connection in the near term, others expect the crucial $18,500 level to hold — setting BTC up for a retest of the key $20,000 level and a new all-time high in the near future.

Institutions rushing into $19,000 Bitcoin as GBTC premium hits six-month high

Bitcoin’s volatility doesn’t appear to have scared off institutions. On Thursday, demand from investors meant Grayscale’s Bitcoin Trust was trading at a chunky premium, making it 35% more expensive than buying BTC at the current market price.

Large-scale buyers are still creating more demand than supply can meet, and a huge sell wall at $20,000 may see a major transfer of wealth from whales to institutions. 

Data from Coin98 shows 27,881 BTC was mined in November, but Grayscale snapped up 55,015 BTC over the course of the month. The digital asset manager also brought back its controversial “drop gold” campaign, which is now running on major networks across the United States.

In other news, S&P Dow Jones Indices announced it will debut cryptocurrency indexes in 2021 — bringing Bitcoin to Wall Street. Coinbase revealed it executed MicroStrategy’s mega $425-million BTC purchase back in September. And the CEO of BlackRock, which has an estimated $7.4 trillion in assets under management, confirmed Bitcoin is on his radar.

CoinShares chairman Danny Masters also told CNBC that the institutional appetite for BTC means portfolio managers could soon be fired for failing to have Bitcoin in their portfolio. The cryptocurrency also got a ringing endorsement from, er, Nigel Farage, who described BTC as “the ultimate anti-lockdown investment.”

Ethereum 2.0 is go: Genesis block of beacon chain winks into existence

After years in the making, the genesis block of the Eth2 beacon chain finally saw the light of the day this week. It was an understated affair. The first block didn’t include much in the way of profound, inspiring messages, and merely said: “Mr F was here.”

This now fires the starting gun on a transition to proof-of-stake over the coming years, and planned upgrades include sharding to improve scalability. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has published an updated roadmap of what comes next. He wrote: “A lot has been accomplished, but still a lot remains to be done!”

ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin has predicted that Eth2 will devour Ethereum “in the not-too-distant future,” revealing insiders “are very optimistic about how fast things could unfold, as the really complicated work has been done in launching Phase 0.”

Not everyone shares Lubin’s enthusiasm. MyEtherWallet CEO and founder Kosala Hemachandra has warned the upgraded blockchain could be years from completion, as developers will encounter a lot of hurdles. Phase 0 also suffered extensive delays.

Ripple CTO says community could force the company to burn 48 billion XRP

Ripple chief technology officer David Schwartz has admitted that the company could be forced by validators to burn its 48 billion XRP — whether it wants to or not.

The payments giant currently holds half of the total XRP supply and has been criticized by the community for selling off tokens in the past.

When a Twitter user asked whether nodes, validators and the wider community could order Ripple to burn XRP if they were in the majority, Schwartz wrote: “Yes. There would be nothing Ripple could do to stop that from happening. Public blockchains are very democratic.”

Data from eToro also revealed that XRP saw a 1,151% month-on-month surge in trading activity in November — comfortably more than Bitcoin’s 221% boost and XRP’s 279% surge.

Libra rebrands to Diem, hoping to shake off associations

Back in June 2019, Facebook unveiled the white paper for the Libra stablecoin and the Calibra wallet. But after yet another rebrand, the controversial project is now even more unrecognizable… and it seems that’s the point.

The Libra Association has seized the day, changing its name to the Diem Association. Catchy. It seems the organization is hoping to turn a page, win round regulators, and prove that it has some distance from Facebook.

Diem Association CEO Stuart Levey said the name “signals the project’s growing maturity and independence.”

A series of new hires have also been made amid reports that the payment service is scheduled to launch in January.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $19,088.30, Ether at $592.29 and XRP at $0.58. The total market cap is at $565,745,528,232.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Nexo, MaidSafeCoin and Elrond. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Stellar, Horizen and Status.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“With digital assets such as cryptocurrencies becoming a rapidly emerging asset class, the time is right for independent, reliable and user-friendly benchmarks.”

Peter Roffman, S&P Dow Jones Indices

“Our miners asked us to immortalize it. Block 659678: Reuters 01/Dec/2020 Dollar plummets on U.S. stimulus hopes; bitcoin hits all-time peak.”

Slush Pool

“People in the know around the ecosystem are very optimistic about how fast things could unfold, as the really complicated work has been done in launching Phase 0.”

Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys founder and Ethereum contributor

“If the water is too clean, there’ll be no fish. The big gamblers will go away if casinos need to be that transparent.”

Eric Leong, junket service provider

“I do think there are some issues that crypto raises that are not neatly solved by our existing securities laws. I would like to see a little more innovation on the regulatory side.”

Hester Peirce, SEC commissioner

“Perceived career risk for having Bitcoin in your institutional portfolio, as a portfolio manager, is fast migrating into a career risk for not having Bitcoin in your portfolio, and that’s a really stunning development.”

Danny Masters, CoinShares chair

“Bitcoin has caught the attention and the imagination of many people. Still untested, pretty small relative to other markets… Can it evolve into a global market? Possibly.”

Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO

“2021 may be the worst year ever for the U.S. dollar, at least until 2022.”

Peter Schiff, Bitcoin skeptic

“There is only one way to approach this, and that is working hand in hand with regulators.”

Dan Schulman, PayPal CEO

“Bitcoin has been the focal point for much of the crypto community, but altcoins are also making waves as investors look to alternative cryptoassets to diversify and make gains elsewhere.”

Simon Peters, eToro CEO

“My name is not Rainn Wilson, nor is it Dwight Schrute. My name is Satoshi Nakamoto, inventor of Bitcoin. That’s what I would say had I invented Bitcoin, which I did not.”

Rainn Wilson, actor

Prediction of the Week

Bitcoin hitting $200,000 by December 2021 is now “conservative” — Willy Woo

Popular statistician Willy Woo has this week’s prediction for us — and he says Bitcoin hitting $300,000 in just one year’s time “is not out of the question.”

In a flurry of tweets on Dec. 1, Woo said he has “never been so bullish” about BTC’s prospects for the coming year.

He wrote: “My Top Model suggesting $200K per BTC by end of 2021 looks conservative, $300K not out of the question. The current market on average paid $7456 for their coins. You all are geniuses.”

Sky-high price predictions have come thick and fast over the course of the past two months, with quant analyst PlanB’s $100,000 December 2021 estimate now looking decidedly modest.

FUD of the Week 

OCC leader Brian Brooks: “Nobody’s going to ban Bitcoin”

U.S. regulators are not looking to “kill” Bitcoin, according to the acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Instead, Brian Brooks said it is “important that we develop the networks behind Bitcoin and other cryptos” to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.

On CNBC, Brooks was asked about whether Brian Armstrong’s concerns that the Trump administration was planning to rush out regulations.

He said: “I think you’re going to see a lot of good news for crypto by the end of the Trump term. Some of it is going to have to do with banks connecting to blockchains; some of it is going to be more clarity around the nature of these assets.”

And he stressed: “Nobody’s going to ban Bitcoin.”

CipherTrace warns of surge in funds lost to MetaMask wallets

CipherTrace has warned of a huge surge in user funds being stolen by a malicious Chrome browser extension posing as MetaMask, the popular crypto wallet.

The warning prompted Jacob Cantele, chief product officer of MetaMask, to ask Twitter what more the company can do to steer users away from potentially harmful websites and downloads.

He wrote: “How can we improve? Currently we’re warning in multiple places within the product, we maintain a phishing detector that warns about tens of thousands of malicious sites, we do regular security marketing campaigns, and we have legal resources to trying to get these sites removed.”

Links to fake MetaMask sites are being inadvertently reposted by cryptocurrency projects and reportedly show up frequently as Google Ads above the first result in Google searches for the term “metamask.”

The road not taken: Jealous brother claims twin earned $10 million in Bitcoin

A “dumb” twin has claimed that the lives of he and his brother took drastically different turns when they were given an inheritance of $100,000 each.

Reddit user “TheDumbTwin” explained that he invested most of his inheritance in silver and stocks, while his brother plundered $50,000 in Bitcoin… when it was priced at $100.

Now, the silver-owning brother has a net worth of less than $100,000, while his twin is worth in excess of $10 million.

He wrote: “His wealth in Bitcoin alone is more than 100 times greater than my entire net worth.”

Despite assurances from other Reddit users, he added: “I try to be thankful for what I do have, and I try to be thankful since I know that many other people in the world have it way worse. But I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

Multi-utility tokens to enable Web 3.0 by providing more than financial value

The benefits of utility tokens could soon stretch beyond payment facilitation and governance capabilities, as Rachel Wolfson explains.

Can DeFi indices finally make crypto-based passive investing worthwhile?

The concept of a DeFi ETF sounds promising, but as Andrey Shevchenko explains, it’s not without pitfalls.

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