In what has been quite a slow news week, the main headline has been Ethereum’s much anticipated Istanbul hard fork. Alongside this piece of Ethereum news, other major crypto players have some important moments upcoming. One of those is Ripple who has made their final attempt to thwart their upcoming securities court case.

However, it has not all been serious new this week. Cardano’s founder Charles Hoskinson has been challenged to a charity MMA fight, with a crypto Youtuber. 

Here is our breakdown of the top five news stories of the week:

1 Ethereum Istanbul Hard Fork


Ethereum has completed its Istanbul hard fork, marking a huge step in the development of the cryptocurrency. The Vitalik Buterin lead company completed the system-wide update after it passed its block #9069000 last Saturday. 

With the update, Ethereum can make 3,000 transactions per second, making it much faster and potentially quelling the common complaint of Ethereum being slow. The Istanbul hard fork is also enabling interprobabilty for privacy token ZCash. It will also make the privacy feature zero-knowledge technologies cheaper. Mining and node operators will have to make changes to their client but most will be unaffected by the hard fork. Prices aren’t expected to suffer either. 

2. South Korea to Start Taxing Cryptocurrency Transactions in 2020

South Korea will start taxing crypto transactions in 2020 (Source: The Merkle)

The South Korean government is planning on taxing cryptocurrency transactions it was revealed by The Korea Times. In an article posted on December 9th, the paper said the Ministry of Economy and Finance has planned a bill that will tax capital gains on cryptocurrency transactions. The bill will be written up by the end of the first half of 2020. 

However, what constitutes a cryptocurrency or digital asset needs to be discussed amongst other finer details of the bill. What this means for the growing crypto community in South Korea remains to be seen. The bill also comes alongside a similar bill being passed by the Korean National Assembly with regards to the increasing transparency in relation to cryptocurrencies. The bill will bring exchanges more in line with traditional banks and require each user to have KYC verification. It will also bring exchanges under the supervision of the Financial Services Commission for licensing. Read our guide on Asian countries’ crypto regulations here

3. Ripple Securities lawsuit

Ripple is challenging a Security lawsuit in the US

Ripple has made its final appeal against an upcoming securities court case. Their filing which was submitted on the 4th of December to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California states that the allegations against their XRP token have come too late and missed the legal deadline. It also goes on to claim that the plaintiff has not proven he bought the XRP token at any stage or his claims the XRP token has committed a security conflict under Californian consumer protection law. Ripple though has still failed to answer whether it is a security under US law. “XRP is not a security, but that is irrelevant for purposes of this motion. Even if XRP were a security, Plaintiff’s claims still fail as a matter of law,” the filing said, only adding to the ambiguity of the situation. If this filing fails, the two parties will meet on January 15th, 2020. 

4. Upbit hack funds on the move

Upbit hack funds are on the move

Last week we told you about the Upbit hack which saw 342,000 ETH stolen. Now there has been further news as it appears that some of the funds are on the move to unknown addresses. WhaleAlert, the large transaction monitoring group showed that one address linked to the hack has started moving 10,000 ETH ($1.5 million)and 1,001 ETH ($150,000) amounts. However, some commentators have suggested it was an inside job by the South Korean exchange. 

5. Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson to have MMA fight?

Read our Guide on Cardano Founder Charles Hoskinson here

Cardano founder, Charles Hoskinson is going to have a charity MMA fight with a prominent cryptocurrency Youtuber, ChicoCrypto, it has been revealed this week. The fight will see all the proceeds go to St. Judes Children’s Hospital and is expected to happen in August 2020. The fight was seemingly set up by Jason Appleton (CryptoCrow) on Twitter, and it would appear he will be the matchmaker and promoter of the fight.