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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and a Lot More from the World of Cryptocurrencies Today

First Bitcoin Futures Contract Expires At $10,900, ‘Win for Bears’ (The CoinTelegraph)
The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)’s first Bitcoin futures contract closed Wednesday, Jan. 17, at $10,900 after a relatively turbulent week in the crypto market had briefly brought Bitcoin’s (BTC) price below $10,000. By Jan. 9, there were 1,907 short position contracts for Bitcoin futures on CBOE. When the futures closed on Jan. 16, BTC had gone down about 36 percent. Reuters reported on the futures contract closing as a “win for bitcoin bears over the bulls.” CBOE chief executive Ed Tilly told the Financial Times: “[The] market experienced a smooth operational close and the settlement process worked as designed.”

Pixabay/Public Domain

Pixabay/Public Domain

Bitcoin Crash Sparks Investor Appetite for Gold (RT.com)
A major correction on the cryptocurrency market has revived investor interest in the world’s oldest commodity. Gold has seen a breakneck-paced rally this month. Bullion dealer Sharps Pixley said physical gold sales increased fivefold on Wednesday, as people were willing to sell digital gold and buy the real thing. “Yesterday was a hell of a crazy day. Emails and phones did not stand still with customers asking how they could turn their crypto into gold,” Director Daniel Marburger told Bloomberg. Investors having 1,000 bitcoins and more are willing to dump them and buy physical metal, a gold trader told the media. “Bitcoin is a bit of a lobster pot – it’s easy to get in, but hard to get out. Gold also offers investors 4,000 years of history as a store of value, and that’s looking quite appealing right now,” he said.

South Korean Officials Caught Trading On Insider Knowledge of Crypto Regulations (News.Bitcoin.com)
South Korean government officials have reportedly been caught insider trading. They sold all of their cryptocurrency holdings and profited just before the regulators announced crypto regulatory measures. The country’s Financial Supervisory Service is investigating the case. At a meeting of the National Assembly’s Committee on Thursday, January 18, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) confirmed that some employees invested in cryptocurrencies and sold them just before the government announced crypto regulatory measures, local media reported.

Shell Just Made its First Investment in Blockchain with UK Startup Applied Blockchain (CityA.M.)
Shell has made its first investment in blockchain, the technology eliciting interest around the world because it underpins bitcoin, but which has far wider applications. The oil giant has taken a minority stake in London startup Applied Blockchain to help it explore how the technology might be applied to its business. The value of the investment has not been disclosed but was made alongside Calibrate Partners, a fintech investment firm.

What Cryptocurrency Crash? Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple Are Soaring Today (The Motley Fool)
After a two-day “crypto crash,” major cryptocurrencies are rallying across-the-board today. Bitcoin (BTC-USD), Ethereum (ETH-USD), and Ripple (XRP-USD) are all up by more than 20% since yesterday’s lows, and have added to their rebounds throughout the morning. Today’s cryptocurrency prices: After several days of dismal performance, all of the major cryptocurrencies are well into the green today. In fact, bitcoin is the worst performer out of the major currencies, and it’s up by 22% over the past day.