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Facebook deals a Kryptonite-like blow to crypto: Prices melting, trust down

Facebook is banning all ads promoting crypto currencies, including bitcoin and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), according to Decode, a Verge affiliate site.

Billions around the world now heard it.

The effort is to prevent people from advertising what the company is calling “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

“Ads that violate the company’s new policy will be banned on Facebook’s core app, but also in other places where Facebook sells ads, including Instagram and its ad network, Audience Network, which places ads on third-party apps,” reported Decode.

Despite Facebook’s board of directors includes two investors, Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel, and Facebook Messenger boss, David Marcus, also on the board of crypto exchange Coinbase, the move did not help crypto currencies.

Already in a price rut and under regulatory scrutiny, the digital asset’s reputation has suffered as more scams emerge.

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The rise of crypto prices also gave rise to scams, rip-offs, and armed heists.

According to Statista, the Japanese crypto currency exchange Coincheck admitted to having been targeted by hackers who got away with NEM coins (XEM) worth $500,000 last Friday.

NEM is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and blockchain platform launched on March 31, 2015, with crypto XEM prices reaching an all-time high of at $2.09 on Jan. 4, before falling to $0.78 on news of the theft, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Courtesy of Statista (

One hacker also managed to trick Experty ICO participants into sending $150,000 worth of Ethereal to the wrong wallet address in a phishing scam.

Experty is a blockchain-based VoIP calling system, where users pay with cryptocurrencies instead of money.

Commenting on the digital currency thefts, Sebastien Pavie, Enterprise and Cybersecurity Director, Gemalto META told AMEinfo: “Had there been stricter security protocols in place on the “hot wallets”, through the implementation of authentication and access security controls such as two-factor authentication and the storing of encryption keys in hardware, this theft could have been prevented.”

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 Prices down

Bitcoin is down more than 10% today, slipping to $9992 amid wider weakness in the cryptocurrency market, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), a loss of $1,100 in 48 hours.

Other cryptocurrencies are as well suffering from negative sentiment.

According to information from sites like CoinMarketCap and OnChainFX, the prices of all of the top-10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization have fallen in the past 24 hours.

Dire bubble warnings

A Senior financial advisor told AMEinfo to “approach (Bitcoin) with caution” as its price falls 50% in one month, as countries around the world crack down on crypto trading, with South Korea introducing a ban on anonymous crypto-trading and India suspending the accounts of cryptocurrency investors.

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Calling it the ‘Bitcoin Bubble’, global financial planning firm Guardian Wealth Management is advising investors in the region to remain cautious about bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as the digital market falters.

“As a financial advisor, investing in cryptocurrencies is not something we recommend to our clients because, at the moment, it is an unregulated market and clients can lose money as quickly as they make money,” said Elliott Parkhouse, Senior Financial Planner at Guardian Wealth Management.

He said stringent regulations due to be announced by Central Banks at the next G20 summit in March , could make or break cryptocurrencies.

“Without knowing the facts, past performance is no indication of future performance,” Parkhouse added.

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US, Russian scramble

Bloomberg said the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission are scrutinizing Tether coins which are popular substitutes for dollars on cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide, with about $2.3bn of the tokens outstanding as of last Tuesday.

“While Tether has said all of its coins are backed by U.S. dollars held in reserve, the company has yet to provide conclusive evidence of its holdings to the public or have its accounts audited, and skeptics have questioned whether the money is really there,” said Bloomberg, quoting unnamed sources.

Meanwhile Forbes said that Russia passed a bill that legalizes the term “digital financial asset” as a security in electronic form, but states that cryptocurrencies are not an authorized means of payment in Russia.

“Therefore, the opinion by the Finance Ministry is that cryptocurrency is not money,” said Forbes.

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Bitcoin nowhere near Gold

Some think of Crypto as digital gold, but nothing can be farther from the truth.

Cryptocurrencies store no value and cannot at this point replace the precious mineral.

Fortune magazine said that a major Wall Street bank, Citigroup has weighed in on the issue.

“Amid record low volatility in other asset classes, the grand scale of the volatility in cryptocurrencies is welcomed as a return vehicle by many traders,” the strategists from Citi Private Bank wrote in their report

“What should the expected return of the most volatile asset class be? Generally, the highest.”

Fortune said Bitcoin has made investors far richer than gold has recently, with the cryptocurrency returning 1,116% over the past 12 months, compared to less than 12% for gold.

“But investors turn to gold in order to diversify their portfolio, using the metal as a safe haven protecting against a drop in the stock market, knowing that when stocks go down, gold typically rises, and vice versa,” said Fortune.

“Bitcoin, on the other hand, not only is far more volatile than both stocks and gold but trades unpredictably, even maniacally, without any relationship to other assets or even gold itself, making it hard for Bitcoin to serve the same purpose as gold does for investors.”