How South Korea’s second-largest bank shook up the crypto market | Ripple's changing narrative around the creation of $XRP | Ohio set to accept bitcoin for tax bills

Please enjoy this special Thanksgiving weekend edition of The Block’s newsletter. With recent high volatile in the crypto markets, we bring you a collection of important news and insight from the past several days. Our newsletter resumes its regular weekday schedule tomorrow. We hope you’ve had a great holiday.

Bitcoin $3,770                    Ethereum $108.29 
Crypto Mkt Cap $121B              BTC Dominance 54.30%  

“I think some crypto asset (and possibly a number of crypto assets) will have a price chart like Amazon’s current one in 18 years. But we will have to do what Amazon did, hunker down and build value and survive, for quite a while to get there. And I think things will get worse before they get better.” — Fred Wilson, Partner Union Square Ventures

The Big Block

The last year has been a watershed for South Korea’s crypto market as the nation’s giant conglomerates from finance, technology, and telecom have come to dominate the sector. The presence of the behemoths has led to big changes in how business is conducted on the exchanges and also ushered in an era of government regulation. But while that sounds like upheaval, in South Korea it’s more like business as usual and the result is a nation poised to be a global leader in crypto. But how did it all come together?

In South Korea, chaebols — conglomerates operated by wealthy, powerful families — control a large part of the country’s economy. Samsung is perhaps the most familiar example of a corporation run by a family, but with a global presence. 

But while Samsung is the best known, it’s hardly the only business giant in South Korea. And several of the others have been making noise in digital currencies over the past 12 months. Among the entrants in the crypto market: SKT, the country’s largest telecommunications company; Nexon/NXC, a $10 billion gaming giant; Hyundai, the global car manufacturer; LG, Samsung’s big rival in electronics; and Shinhan Bank, a major commercial financial institution. The end result is that as of November, all top five cryptocurrency trading platforms in the local market are controlled by conglomerates.

Read More on The Block (11 Minutes)

Around The Block

Ripple’s changing narrative around the creation of $XRP

$XRP is currently the second largest cryptocurrency with a $14.2 billion market cap as of 10am ET today. As a result, its provenance and development are closely watched by those both inside and outside of the crypto ecosystem. During the current downturn in crypto market prices, $XRP has been the best-performing large cap (> $500 million) cryptocurrency with a 30-day return of -23.9% and a 90-day return of +5.8% as of the time of writing. — More

We got our hands on an investor update for Telegram’s blockchain project, and can confirm Russian reports that say its 70% done

Investors earlier this year received an update on one of the hottest projects in the cryptocurrency space — and it could mean it’s close to being finished. 

Telegram, the messaging-app operator which raised more than a billion dollars in a token sale to build out its own blockchain, released a status update on the development of TON (Telegram Open Network) in September. It was previously reported by Russian media, but the circular itself was never published. According to the document, many aspects of the project are more than 90% complete.  — More

Ohio set to become the first U.S. state to accept bitcoin for tax bills — More

Bitcoin falls to its lowest level since September 2017, trading below $4,000 — More

Overstock’s CEO will sell the company’s retail business to focus on blockchain — More

Ethereum developer publishes previously undisclosed internal documents about a potential upgrade in 2019 — More

Judgment proof bitcoin? Not in New York — More

Bitfinex quietly increases minimum wire fee — More

Crypto Caselaw Minute, Week of 11.18.18: Conundrums come from Bitmain configurations, mislaid ether — More

Outlier Ventures: Venture capital investments in the blockchain space up 316% from 2017 — More

Snowden says bitcoin is the first ‘free’ money, but he is bearish on the crypto in the long run — More

Demand for crypto insurance far exceeds the capacity — More

The Block wants to understand who our readers are. Please take a few minutes to respond to our short survey. Your participation will give us a better understanding of our readers and what interests them! Please note that the survey results will be anonymized and aggregated. Please take the survey here.