The past couple months have been tough sledding for cryptocurrency holders. After the insane bull run that saw all cryptocurrencies reaching a collective market cap of near one trillion dollars during the holiday season, the crypto market pulled back significantly and many projects that soared to unprecedented heights found their valuations shattered in the span of several disheartening weeks.
One of the projects that benefited most from the bull run was the South Korean blockchain platform ICON. At its all-time high, ICON ($ICX) held a market cap valuation of more than four billion dollars that pushed the price of each individual ICON over $12 dollars. While the token remains eight dollars below its all-time high, Icon has surged more than +50% in the past two days behind speculation of new exchange listings, several promising ICO’s and an imminent token swap from the minted ERC-20 token to Icon’s native blockchain.
ICON (ICX) will be listing tonight on Bithumb Pro and on March 25th on Bithumb. pic.twitter.com/onMQrb0Z3m
— Korean Cryptocurrency & Blockchain News (@BlockchainROK) March 21, 2018
Bithumb, the fourth largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, processes close to one billion dollars worth of transactions a day and the listing of ICON is a major accomplishment for the Korean team. A day later, the tech startup announced they had been listed on UpBit, another top Korean exchange.
With South Korea viewed as the most forward-thinking cryptocurrency community in the world, the dual listing of ICON on Bithumb and Upbit is evidence of a team that achieves state goals in a timely and efficient manner. Further rumors that ICX could be traded on the second biggest Korean exchange, CoinOne, sent primed traders into a buying frenzy.
Last week, Bithumb signed a monumental deal with BitPay that will allow businesses to convert invoices into Bitcoin and use BitPay’s service to settle them quicker than conventional banking institutions.
Speaking to CNBC, BitPay chief commercial officer Sonny Singh suggested that over $200 billion dollars worth of cross-border payments will be made between South Korea and The United States in 2018. Speaking on the inefficiencies in current banking and payment infrastructures, Singh had the following to say:
Right now, people are doing cross-border payments […] and paying bank wires, FX fees around 4% and it takes about four days. Using Bithumb and BitPay, we’re able to make this a 1% fee in one business day.
As ICON raced up the charts and supplanted all other alternative currencies on Binance’s 24hr volume chart, the hype machine spilled over. Some commentators predicted that the South Korean blockchain startup could soon appear on other top exchanges like Bittrex, Bitfinex & possibly even Coinbase.
Other bullish indicators for ICON include a list of ICO’s that plan on launching through on the ICX blockchain. ICO’s that fundraise through ICON’s platform will have to use the ICX token to participate leading to speculation that demand will be high for ICON tokens while the supply dries up. Similarly, ICO’s have helped Ethereum and NEO grow into some of the largest valuations in the community.
I think $ICX bull run has just begun. Getting listed on bitthumb pro already with bitthumb listing coming in 4 days. Upbit (co founded by Bittrex) has confirmed $ICX listing. These are #4, #5, and #6 exchanges in volume, respectively. Shit is about to get real.
— Charlie Hussle (@HussleCrypto) March 21, 2018
In late February, the ICON team announced the launch of their wallet service, ICONex, which runs as a chrome extension and will be available for iOS & Android users within the next few months. According to leadership, a token swap from the ICON’s current Ethereum chain ERC-20 token to a native ICX platform will take place in the next month:
We are currently preparing the ERC20 token to ICX coin Swap. We are working on the details and cannot give you the exact schedule at the moment, however we expect the Token Swap to start next month.
Even after the Token Swap process begins, the ICX ERC-20 tokens will be able to make transactions. After a period of several months with many announcements about the Token Swap, the ERC-20 tokens will be burned.
At the end of January, ICON announced six ICO’s that will crowdfund on the ICX platform between Q2 & Q3 of 2018. Among the decentralized apps included are Blue Whale (ecosystem for workers compensation), Tink (an anonymous social media voting platform), & UPPSALA (a security intelligence platform).
ICON’s close relationship with corporate and government entities within tech powerhouse South Korea have investors salivating about the potential growth of the new cryptocurrency. With a plan to ‘hyperconnect the world’ and major partnerships with Forbes & Bloomberg in the pipeline, 2018 could very well be the year that ICON reaches the mainstream visibility and valuation of other top crypto projects.
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