US President Donald Trump speaks to members of the military via teleconference from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Thanksgiving Day. Photo: AFP
Is US President Donald Trump's escalating trade war with China pushing up the price of Bitcoin? Photo: AFP

Crypto asset markets have been on a roll this week, with Bitcoin, as ever, playing the digital pied piper. The king of crypto reached a new eight month high of just over $8,300 on Thursday after remaining above $8k for the rest of the week. Crypto devotees love to talk about how the  fear of missing out, or “FUD”, drives markets and this does seem to have had an effect on the so-called altcoins, as Ethereum and Ripple’s XRP token also started to surge by double figures during the week. Overall, the market upswing pushed total crypto market capitalization to a ten month high of $260 billion on Thursday. However by Friday, Asian trading saw the inevitable correction, as markets started to rapidly slide. At the time of writing, Bitcoin had slipped below the $7,000 mark before rallying slightly.

There has been some speculation that the Bitcoin market momentum is coming from China in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s escalating trade war. A plunge in stock markets followed news that China would raise tariffs on roughly $60 billion of US goods. Asian markets followed suit, taking the Chinese currency with them. Head of International Fixed Income at National Alliance Securities, Andy Brenner, told CNBC that “if you were in China and you wanted to diversify, it would seem logical that Bitcoin would be a short term alternative,” before adding “while we do not see the direct flows of who is buying Bitcoin, we can see that the bid for Bitcoin in this latest run has coincided with a big down tick in the value of the Chinese Yuan versus the dollar.”

On the Asian blockchain scene, South Korean tech giant Samsung has reportedly partnered with several blockchain and investment startups to close a funding round for a blockchain-based video streaming platform. Decentralized streaming video protocol, Theta Labs, has joined Samsung NEXT and crypto wallet provider Blockchain for the endeavor. Uphonest Capital, Wei Fund, Igen Fusion Capital, and a number of other private investors also contributed that the project says will keep Theta Labs funded until 2021. The decentralized video delivery network, which has a token based bandwidth sharing platform, plans to open offices in Seoul, Singapore and London. 

Remaining with Samsung, local Korean media is reporting that the electronics giant plans to expand its crypto functionality beyond its flagship S10 model. According to the report, Samsung aims to include crypto wallets on some of its budget models. The firm also has plans to cooperate with local telecom companies in blockchain-based mobile identification cards and currencies. Earlier this year Samsung announced that the Galaxy S10 would come preloaded with a Blockchain Key Store to securely hold cryptographic keys and a wallet supporting payments using digital currencies.

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