Crypto Roundup: Bithumb Ban, Pseudo-Mining and Falling Market Caps

It has been an active start to the week for the blockchain community, as news of institutional adoption, blanket bans and a new internet-less cryptocurrency captured headlines. Meanwhile, crypto assets continued to sink, with Ethereum falling as much as 14% overnight.

Cryptocurrency Market Falls to Six-Week Low

Digital currencies shed $14 billion in combined market cap on Monday, with Ethereum falling by as much as 14% in overnight trade. The total market cap bottomed at $310 billion, the lowest since the crypto rally resumed in early April.

Ethereum prices plunged $82 within the span of 60 minutes, reaching a low of $492. The cryptocurrency recovered at $536, though it was still down more than 6%. The oversized decline has been attributed to ICOs and other blockchain projects hastily dumping their ether supplies.

The ICO market has taken a major hit in recent months amid regulatory uncertainty and heightened investor scrutiny. ICO crowdfunding in April reached its lowest level since last summer.

Bithumb Bans Trading in 11 Countries

One of South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges has announced a blanket ban on 11 countries, citing money laundering and other  risks.

In a Monday announcement, the digital currency exchange said it will block transactions of residents from the so-called Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCT). This list includes North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Syria, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Vanuatu and Yemen.

The ban came into effect on Sunday, though existing users from the 11 countries listed will have until June 21 to liquidate their accounts.

As of Monday, Bithumb was the world’s fifth largest crypto exchange by trade volumes.

Philippines Banks Pilot Ethereum-Based Blockchain

A small contingency of Filipino banks have announced plans to test a real-time payment network backed by blockchain technology.

The so-called ‘Project i2i’ initiative will be used by five rural banks to streamline instant payments and connect rural financial institutions to the country’s main financial network. The pilot will be facilitated by Consensys, an Ethereum-based startup.

The project is said to promote island-to-island, institution-to-institution and individual-to-individual transactions.

Local media have confirmed that the participating institutions are Cantilan Bank, Inc. of Surigao del Sur, PR Savings Bank, City Savings Bank, FairBank, and Progressive Bank.

mCoin Becomes First Cryptocurrency to Function Without Internet

A blockchain project by the name of mCoin is allowing un-banked and unconnected users to access cryptocurrency without the internet. The new token, which was launched via initial coin offering (ICO), has reportedly attracted tens of thousands of users already. The ICO, which was initiated by ONEm, a London-based telecommunications company, has reportedly attracted 30,000 users from 150 nations.

Blockchain companies are leading a global effort to “bank the un-banked,” a market that encompasses at least 2 billion people. In addition to the un-banked, the mCoin project targets a billion others without access to the internet.

mCoin is said to enable “pseudo-mining,” with allows users to earn tokens directly through their mobile device.

At the time of writing, there are 28 days remaining for the public token sale.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi