Oct 14, 2018

Crypto news you should know this week

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Investor appetite for cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech continues, with the arrival of Dragonfly Capital Partners this week, but that's not all the news you should know about.

Catch up quick: Investor support for Civil's "blockchain for journalism" is lukewarm; a congressional hearing featured two opposing views of cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech; the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said institutional investors will help the market mature; and they're starting to jump in slowly.

Investor support for Civil's "blockchain for journalism" is lukewarm (Civil blog post)

Why it matters: Journalism is among the many things blockchain (or distributed ledger) tech will supposedly fix, or so Civil (and a few other companies) told us. Despite attracting high-profile media names like ex-NPR CEO and Twitter exec Vivian Schiller, and recently inking a deal with Forbes, Civil's fundraising via a public token sale didn't go as planned.

On Wednesday, Civil reported that so far it has closed about $1.3 million out of the $8 million it hoped to raise. What's more, $1.1 million of that (or 82% of total purchases) came from blockchain tech company ConsenSys, further raising questions about the ability for a project like Civil to help democratize the financial support (and accountability) of journalism.

Congressional hearing features two opposing views of cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech (Coindesk)

Why it matters: During a hearing on Thursday, senators heard from two experts with very diverging views. Economist Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the 2008 housing crisis, called cryptocurrencies "the mother and father of all scams," while Coin Center research director Peter Van Valkenburgh was still enthusiastic about the technologies while noting the various shortcomings.

Both are correct. There's been a lot of speculation, misleading claims to investors and hype painting blockchain tech as a panacea for all problems, and yet bitcoin and some others truly are innovations.

The CFTC says institutional investors will help the market mature (Coindesk), and they're starting to jump in slowly (The Information)

Why it matters: Whether institutional investors will participate in the cryptocurrency market is a chicken-and-egg question. On the one hand, they're waiting on infrastructure, products and protections they're comfortable with. But on the other, many experts predict that their participation is what will push companies to meet these requirements.

Some, such as a handful of university endowments, are beginning to invest in the market, and I've heard from a number of companies and funds that they're fielding increasing interest from these investors. And yet, it's still a slow process — only a couple of crypto-asset funds have earned the trust of institutional check writers so far, and bitcoin-based exchange-traded funds are still facing regulatory skepticism.

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Cuomo: Engaging in politics during coronavirus crisis is "anti-American"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 755,591 — Total deaths: 36,211 — Total recoveries: 158,527.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 148,089 — Total deaths: 2,599 — Total recoveries: 4,886.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan.
  4. State updates: At least 30 states have issued stay-at-home orders to residents. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said more than 9,500 people have been hospitalized.
  5. Business latest: Macy's will furlough the majority of it's workers this week, as the chain's stores remain closed.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Axios co-founder Roy Schwartz discusses his experience being diagnosed with the virus.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Maryland and Virginia issue coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

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