• Bitcoin trades at a range of around USD 8,750
  • Ether (ETH) trading volume is on the rise in Hong Kong even as price valuations dip slightly
  • House Committee to hold new hearing next week on benefits of crypto and blockchain for small businesses

The weekend is here and Bitcoin as well as the rest of the crypto market has just pulled through a poor week for the bulls. Altcoins will be the ones licking their wounds the most, with many of them losing up to 15% of their value in a matter of days, like ETH did from a high of USD 290 some weeks ago to just USD 225 these few days.

Nevertheless, there is some room for optimism that the worst could not happen despite best efforts from scalpers and sellers, so there is much hope for a comeback in the near future from the bulls.

One bullish piece of news for altcoins, or for ETH anyway, is that crypto derivatives exchange FTX has been recording record volumes in the trading of the alternative digital asset. The Hong Kong-based platform says that amid the ETH sell-off in mid week, USD 245 million worth of ETH changed hands to a lifetime high, up 51% from a previous day volume of USD 162 million. The exchange is only nine months old, but sees most of the ETH volume from that region. On 20 February this year, it had recorded a previous high of USD 189 million.

Trading activity has been rising since early January and has witnessed spectacular growth over the last four weeks, as seen below.

In fact, interest in Ether has been on an upward trajectory for a while now. Looking at July 2019 onwards, futures crossed the USD 25 million thresholds seven times and then broke through the new record in January 2020 with a volume of over USD 45 million for three days straight. And then, daily volume climbed from USD 12 million on 27 January to USD 245 million on 26 February, clocking in a mind-boggling increase of 1,784%.

Speculators aren’t the only ones getting interested in cryptocurrency, to be sure!

Next week, we will see an interesting blockchain event take place in the US, where its House of Representatives will appoint a committee to hold a hearing that will look at how blockchain technology could impact small businesses. While crypto and blockchain are known and understood to change the way how businesses operate, the effects are better known for large corporations, and now the US government is interested to find out how this could affect smaller businesses.

This Committee on Small Business has titled its hearing as ‘Building Blocks of Change: The Benefits of Blockchain Technology for Small Businesses’, and this is due to be held in the capital on 4 March 2020, on Wednesday.

Official information on their website, names Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) as the lead, and has said it will center the hearing on “using blockchain technology to help small businesses boost productivity, increase security, open new markets, and change the way business is done”.

Confirmed listed attendees include Ownum CEO Shane Bigelow, PopCom CEO Dawn Dickson, Protocol Labs general counsel Marvin Ammori, and American Enterprise Institute visiting fellow Jim Harper.

This isn’t the first time the House of Representatives have tried to enquire more into blockchain of course, as the tech and digital assets have always been in some legal grey area, especially when it comes to enforcement. The same Chairwoman Velázquez had been attending an earlier hearing last year on 17 July at the House Committee on Financial Services.

That particular time, they were grilling a certain Facebook chief executive to discuss the potential consumer impact of Facebook’s crypto project Libra. When commenting on potential regulatory approvals for the troubled cryptocurrency, Velázquez stated:

“We do not want to stifle innovation, but we do have a healthy dose of skepticism.”


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