A section of the Periodic Table shows Palladium. Photo: iStock

There have been a few fundamental developments for the industry this week but not all of them have been positive. The hacking of Singapore based crypto exchange DragonEX earlier in the week highlights one of the industry’s major inhibitors for institutional investment: security. The firm announced the news on its official Telegram channel on Monday, stating that it had suffered a cyber-attack resulting in the loss of digital assets. But no amounts were disclosed.

DragonEX was not the only exchange in hot water this week as CoinBene was also the reported victim of cyber theft. A maintenance announcement was rumored to be a cover-up for a hack, though the company has claimed that it was upgrading its platform and that caused the downtime.

In Pakistan, a seven-member gang reportedly demanding ransoms in Bitcoin for the release of kidnap victims was arrested by local police. The office of Lahore’s deputy commissioner, effectively the area magistrate, has been directly implicated in the crime and the kidnap victim, a teacher who had taught one of the gang members, was released unharmed. Police said this was the first case of ‘Bitcoin kidnapping‘ in the country.

Russian billionaire and commodities magnate Vladimir Potanin announced a plan for crypto-trading platform with tokens backed by the rare white metal, palladium. Potanin is the world’s top producer of palladium – similar to platinum in look and rarity but slightly cheaper – and has been in talks with Swiss authorities regarding the launch of a commodity-backed token. Potanin, who is also CEO of Nornickel, one of the world’s top nickel producer, said that tokenized commodity transactions could be simpler, more convenient and more cost-effective.

Leading South Korean mobile platform, Kakao, says it has launched a public testnet of its blockchain project dubbed ‘Klaytn’. The testnet has been developed by the blockchain subsidiary of Kakao, Ground X, and serves as a development ecosystem for local blockchain services. A private testnet called ‘Aspen’ was launched in October and the full platform is said to be ready by June. Kakao says the new platform is “dedicated to validating the value and utility of blockchain technology by providing a blockchain service for mass adoption”.

Financial analytics firm Weiss Ratings released their annual report this week which rates crypto assets on technology and adoption. The firm has a grading system which covers 122 cryptocurrencies and it determined that Ripple’s XRP, Ethereum rival EOS, and Bitcoin were the top three and the only ones deserving an A grade. The report was extremely optimistic about the future of digital assets and added that the best time to invest could be very soon. The price of EOS reacted sharply with a gain of 17% over the week.

China’s Center for Information and Industry Development has its own crypto ranking system which reported its latest gradings this week. The eleventh iteration of its monthly report also ranked EOS as the top crypto platform at the moment. Second was home-grown entertainments crypto Tron and Ethereum came in third, while Bitcoin slipped down to fifteenth.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency markets are ending this week on a high with total market capitalization reaching $143 billion during today’s Asian trading session, an increase of almost 3% over the past seven days.

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