Only one thing is more certain than death and taxes. That is if you commit yourself to a price guide, you can be certain the market will laugh at you, then embarrass you, as it did when I suggested BTC had held within previous price points. News just in. Some are now reporting that someone is searching for buyers for another huge amount of cryptocurrency. A connection to Mt. Gox is suspected by some, but not confirmed. Ran Neuner is a writer at CNBC. The amount offered to him was worth more than $160M at the current price. A few have gone into investigation mode. Others have also voiced concerns. The excitement may have begun four days ago, when an address holding more than 150,000 bitcoins moved 7,000 of them to an exchange. However, this wallet is not listed on the website that tracks Mt. Gox-associated cold wallets. There has been no recent movement reported from there. People are very sensitive to the words ‘Mt. Gox’ because Kobayashi still holds about $1.9B worth of Bitcoin, enough to ruin the market if it was suddenly released. The aforementioned sale of 18,000 bitcoins (which we previously reported), for example, caused the price to crash to a three-month low by the following day (or did it? Kobayashi set out when he sold BTC and BCH. I also published an article in AI Coin general chat setting out the history and price movements on the days these coins were sold). Mt. Gox, (short for ‘Magic: The Gathering Online eXchange’), was a Bitcoin exchange founded in 2010. By 2013 it handled more than 70 percent of all Bitcoin transactions. In February 2014 it closed down and filed for bankruptcy, claiming that around 850,000 bitcoins had been stolen. The culprits were never found. The remaining funds were put into a trust, managed by Kobayashi, with the intention of paying back customers (at the loss they incurred at that time). The last sale realised a profit to cover the total losses. So what’s happening now? That’s not clear because previously Kobayashi informed the public he would not be selling any further crypto without court authorisation. Or has he, like it appeared before obtained the courts permission without informing the public? Or does he need to inform the public if his aim is to realise the best profit?
In other news, Twitter is to ban most advertising of cryptocurrencies on its platform, joining Facebook and Google in a clampdown on the crypto industry, the company said in a statement. The San Francisco-based firm will this week launch a policy that prohibits advertising of initial coin offerings (ICOs), as well as adverts that promote token sales and crypto wallet services, the company said in a statement provided to Reuters.
Bitcoin (BTC) Price 26 to 30 March
On Monday Bitcoin is trading at $8,459.43 a coin. Bitcoin recorded a weekly loss of over 20% and closed the week on Friday at $6,837.72 a coin. Over the weekend, trading in Bitcoin remained volatile and the virtual currency plunged below the psychologically important $7,000! (I know).
On 22 March, BitMEX Research published a follow-up article to its September 2017 analysis on Segregated Witness (SegWit) transactions compared to Bitcoin Cash, and the results aren’t good for big block supporters. Bitcoin Cash was created as an alternative coin with bigger blocks unlike Bitcoin’s Segregated Witness (SegWit) block weight optimization upgrade in August 2017.
While SegWit gave the option for Bitcoin users to upgrade their wallets and receive the benefits of approximately 41% more capacity, Bitcoin Cash required users to upgrade their wallets, adopt a new transaction format, and use an entirely new coin. According to BitMEX Research, 6.1 million SegWit transactions have taken place since the launch of rival Bitcoin Cash — 20.1% more than Bcash’s total number of transactions. Transaction data also reveals that SegWit was adopted at a significantly more steady rate than Bitcoin Cash, and overtook its competitor early on. As noted by BitMEX Research: There was a sharp spike in Bitcoin Cash transaction volume when it launched; in contrast, the SegWit upgrade was more gradually adopted. Since 2013, you’ve had the option of paying for Reddit Gold membership with bitcoin in addition to the usual credit card and PayPal choices. However, you now have to do it the old fashioned way, a moderator has confirmed that Reddit has stopped accepting bitcoin!
At present, the total market value of all cryptocurrencies is $264.05B, with Bitcoin accounting for $120.21B.
Bitcoin Opening Price $8,459.43 Close $6,837.72 High $8497.96 Low $6,590.53
China, Japan Korea and Australia
China set a strict ban on digital currency trading back in September of last year, but the country has reportedly been steadfast in investigation efforts to figure out how to utilize the distributed ledger technology to create a state-backed alternative currency. Earlier this month, Zhou Xiaochua, who has now stepped down from his role as PBC governor, stated in a press conference that, “It is safe to say that the digital currency is inevitable due to technology development”. The most patent filings for Blockchain technology to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2017 came from China, the Financial Times reported on 25 March. Data collected by Thomson Reuters from the international patent organization show that over half of the 406 patents in 2017 were from China: the country filed 225 Blockchain patents, followed by the US (91), and Australia (13). Patent applications for Blockchain technology tripled last year. According to Alex Batteson, an editor at Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law, “Companies are moving fast in order to protect their ideas in new areas of technological development, long before the technology actually goes to market”. Chinese companies made up six of the top nine filers for Blockchain patents from 2012 to 2017, led by Beijing Technology Development. I’ve asked you to think about the reports from main-stream media or from the perceived news and question, do you find this strange for a country in the process of banning crypto. Or is it China’s short-term aim price control and/or control any wealth exodus? And, is it part of China’s future plan for world trade using the power of the blockchain. Now I will start to outline, in future issues of Crypto Currency News, where I think China’s long term economic plan is going and how, in my view, it’s going to use the blockchain.
Yahoo Japan is reportedly planning on launching its own cryptocurrency exchange in the country within the next year. According to Nikkei Asian Review, the Japanese branch of Internet giant Yahoo will begin an acquisition of BitARG Exchange. Upbit, the second largest cryptocurrency exchange service in South Korea and the fifth largest in the world regarding 24-hour trade volume has announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency index service. The index service will be the first of its kind in the South Korean cryptocurrency market. In an article appearing on Business Korea dated 23 March, Dunamu, the parent company that owns Upbit declared its intentions to launch the Upbit Cryptocurrency Index (UBCI). The new cryptocurrency index will provide a standardized framework for measuring the crypto market conditions.
Two Japanese digital currency exchanges, Mr. Exchange and Tokyo GateWay, will be closing operations and returning customers’ cash and cryptocurrency holdings. These two exchanges are following the lead of three other Japanese exchanges, Raimu, bitExpress and Bit Station, which have also announced that they will be halting operations in Japan.
L’Operaio, a Japanese car dealership that imports and sells high-end vehicles, is adding bitcoin as a payment option with technological support from the country’s largest exchange, bitFlyer. Notably, while most of the exchange’s existing retail partnerships have a limited settlement cap for each purchase, ranging from $900 to $2,760, bitFlyer says the new partnership will allow customers to make purchases as high as 100 million yen ($1 million) in bitcoin via its digital wallet.
The Korean central bank has released the results of its nationwide poll which includes information about cryptocurrency acceptance. Among 25,011 poll participants, 40% of young adults are eager to possess cryptocurrencies, according to local media. The Kakao-backed cryptocurrency exchange Upbit has launched a system to reward users for identifying fraudulent multi-level schemes related to cryptocurrencies. Upbit has invited all of its users to use its new system aimed at identifying multi-level, illegal scams posing as cryptocurrencies or initial coin offering (ICO) tokens.
Newly founded Eurasian Blockchain Association (EBA) is planning to file a class action against Internet corporations for banning crypto-related ads. During the two-day long blockchain conference (March 27-28) held in Moscow, representatives of the Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association (RACIB), the Korea Venture Business Association (KOVA) and the Chinese Association of Cryptocurrency Investors (LBTC) have signed the agreement to create EBA Joh Su-yong, Co-CEO of South Korean chat giant Kakao, said the company will unveil its own blockchain platform within the year, but will not create its own cryptocurrency. Kakao’s new blockchain business unit Ground X in Japan, which was established on 16 March.
Two sitting ministers from the legislature of the Australian state of Queensland have revealed that they privately own bitcoin. The updating of the register of Queensland’s politicians’ interests has revealed that two of the state’s representatives currently own bitcoin.
The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) is now accepting cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin for its services. The GNTB is a national marketing organization and has worked with the federal government of Germany to promote tourism. In an announcement Tuesday, the EU markets watchdog said it has agreed to temporarily adjust the leverage limit for cryptocurrency-related “contracts for difference” (CFD) products to 2:1 – a move that will require retail investors to initially pay at least 50 percent of the total CFD value.
British Virgin Islands-based Bitfinex, the fifth largest crypto trading platform in the world in terms of trading volume, intends to relocate its business to Zug, Switzerland, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported on 27 March. Jean Louis van der Velde, CEO at Bitfinex, confirmed the exchange’s plans to the Swiss business newspaper Handelszeitung.
The National Bank of Kazakhstan wants to ban cryptocurrency trading and mining in the European nation, its chairman said. Speaking to Sputnik News, Daniyar Akishev said the central bank is “taking [a] very conservative approach” towards cryptocurrencies, looking for “extremely tough restrictions”.
This week, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange with a $1.7B daily trading volume, is reportedly about to relocated its headquarters to Malta, a region that has always been friendly to cryptocurrency businesses and investors. Along with its current team, Binance is reported to be moving its resources over to Malta, and has decided to employ more than 200 full-time employees to fully establish the company in the region. But, it seems evident that the pro-blockchain attitude of Malta authorities has given Binance confidence to relocate its team and business to the region, placing Malta at the forefront of cryptocurrency growth. Silvio Schembri, Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation, stated in an interview with the Binance team that the country remains confident in the work that is being done in the cryptocurrency sector. He further emphasized that Binance’s presence in the region would continue to allow Malta to evolve into the Blockchain Island.
The U.K.’s City Minister, John Glen, told reporters at the Treasury’s International Fintech conference on Thursday that “proportionate” regulations could give the local cryptocurrency industry a significant boost. Notably, the minister acknowledged that the current level of cryptocurrency trading and related activities is “not posing any significant risk to the UK economy”. On March 29, 2018, the United Kingdom’s financial markets regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), issued a warning about Olsson Capital, an unlicensed foreign and broker of cryptocurrency contracts for differences (CFDs) based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Days before legalizing crypto activities, Belarus has adopted a new accounting standard that deals with cryptocurrencies. The Ministry of Finance in Minsk has developed a new standard that specifies the procedures for keeping accounting records of crypto transactions. The obligations of organizations conducting token sales and the exact approaches to assessing the cost of “digital tokens” are also
defined in the Ministry’s decree. If the tokens are purchased for subsequent sale, by a trader or an exchange, they have to be reported in the “Goods” debit account and under the following credit accounts: “Settlements with suppliers and contractors” and “Income and expenses for current activities”.
Deutsche Börse is to work with liquidity and collateral management outfit HQLAx and blockchain consortium R3 to create a front-to-back operating model for securities lending. Under the programme, Eurex will provide the Repo trading application, while Deutsche Börse will offer a post-trade processing layer which will interoperate with multiple collateral agents and custodians. Geneva based Retail FX broker Dukascopy has just announced that the Bitcoin to US Dollar (BTC/USD) is now available for regular self trading LIVE accounts of Dukascopy Bank. Maximum leverage on BTC/USD is set to 1:3. Home Style (UK) now lets you pay for carpet by cryptocurrency. Anyone buying new carpet or flooring from Home Style Carpets Flooring in Chester can now pay for their purchase with Bitcoin alongside more established means. The New-Crane Street based business sees Bitcoin as being no different to any other way of paying.
It has been widely reported in recent weeks that Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar and the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) are preparing to release a draft of the world’s first token regulations. During a presentation at the Gibraltar International FinTech Forum 2018, otherwise known as the Gibfin conference, which took place between 28th February and 1st May 2018, the GFSC provided attendees with more information about the activities that the forthcoming token regulations aim to regulate.
The largest bank of Poland PKO Bank Polski announced that it has finished testing of Trudatum Coinfirm blockchain platform for logging and storing client documentation for over a year. The next step for the bank is to integrate the technology with its current systems and roll out a production-ready service for verifying the authenticity of millions of client documents and transaction records. Danske Bank has released a statement in which the bank sets out its policy towards cryptocurrency investments. “We have a negative position towards cryptocurrencies and strongly recommend that our customers refrain from investing in the field. First of all, cryptocurrencies differ from traditional currencies in the sense that they are not backed by a central bank”.
USA and Canada
FAANG market cap peaked at $3.2T recently. Recently those same companies have lost over $400B since the peak. FB lost over $1B in a week, recently. The Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act was passed along with the federal spending bill on 23 March 2018. The act allows law enforcement agencies to demand access to online information from any country in the world. It allows law enforcement agencies an easier route to access users electronic data such as emails, messages, and files, even if it’s stored on servers in another country. The act also creates a framework for U.S lawmakers to send information from U.S based servers to other countries on a case-by-case basis. Digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) believe the act bypasses the Fourth Amendment which demands that “probable cause”, translating as a high level of suspicion, is required for any investigation.
The United States’ biggest lender JPMorgan Chase and Co. is pondering whether it should re-purpose, or un-hitch, its main blockchain technology project Quorum. The banking giant JPMorgan launched Quorum in 2016 as its own version of blockchain technology, built atop the Ethereum blockchain with the purpose of simplifying and increasing efficiency in the company’s clearing and settling operations and overseas payment transactions.
American car manufacturer Ford has filed a patent for an apparatus for vehicle-to-vehicle communication methods that involves the exchange of crypto tokens to facilitate traffic flow, according to a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent application published on 27 March. Traffic congestion, according to Ford’s 16 Sept 2017 patent application, is caused when reduced traffic flow “is compounded due to the psychology of human drivers who focus on their individual travel time preferences”. President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Raphael Bostic recently took a negative stance toward cryptocurrency investments at the annual meeting of Hope Global Forums, urging the US public to avoid digital currencies, as Bloomberg reported today, March 27. At the meeting considered to be “the largest gathering of leaders in the world on behalf of empowering poor and underserved communities”, Bostic expressed criticism about cryptocurrency markets, claiming that digital currencies are not even currencies.
Many government services in Atlanta, Georgia, a major metropolitan US city, were brought to a halt this week. Ransomware appeared on municipal computers, urging a payment of $51,000 in equivalent bitcoin, otherwise vital city functions would be shut down. City employees received an official email about an issue critical enough to order computers powered down and unplugged from the wall. Initially, the city claimed it to be a computer
outage, but leaks from various departments told another story to local media.
The governor of Tennessee has signed a bill into law that recognizes “the legal authority to use blockchain technology and smart contracts in conducting electronic transactions”. The new bill also “protects the ownership rights of certain information secured by blockchain technology” under state law. American plane manufacturer Boeing announced that it “detected a limited intrusion of malware” that infiltrated “a small number of systems,” according to a statement released by a company official. The Seattle Times reports that Boeing fell victim to the WannaCry virus, which held computers hostage earlier this year in the largest cyberextortion scheme ever, CNET reports.
The CFTC agency saw its budget decrease substantially while the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) saw its budget increase. The CFTC has been a cryptocurrency proponent on Capitol Hill and this year made several appearances before congressional committees, touting the future of cryptocurrencies. The organization had granted approval in December 2017 to two companies looking to offer Bitcoin futures markets provided they adhered to federal securities laws. By the time the ink dried on the federal budget, the CFTC saw its funding reduced by a staggering $1M. It can’t be a coincidence that the SEC’s new budget jumped at the same time that it has proposed plans to regulate cryptocurrencies?
It what might be a good sign for beleaguered Bitcoin, which has suffered a series of jolts in 2018, the average price of transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain fell. In one sense this has been driven by lower demand, which is a reflection of a weakness in the overall Bitcoin market, but the other side is that the SegWit (Segregated Witness) scaling solution that was introduced last summer is beginning to stabilise prices and reduce confirmation times – both of which had previously been considered barriers to Bitcoin’s user case.
Huobi’s U.S.-based operation has registered with the U.S. government as a money services business ahead of a planned rollout of crypto-to-crypto trading this spring. HBUS Inc. is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as of 21 March, according to the U.S. regulator’s database. Li Lin, the chief executive and founder of Huobi Group, confirmed the plan for a May launch through a WeChat announcement, anticipating a new crypto-only exchange platform specifically for U.S. investors that will be separate from Huobi’s existing crypto-to-crypto platform, Huobi Pro.
Huobi’s chief operation office Robin Zhu told CoinDesk earlier this year that a U.S. exchange is a major plank in its expansion steps, provided that the related regulatory issues are resolved. Massachusetts’ top securities regulator has issued a series of consent orders pertaining to five different initial coin offerings (ICO). William Galvin, the secretary of the commonwealth in Massachusetts, ordered 18moons, Across Platforms, Mattervest, Pink Ribbon
and Sparkco to cease their ICO campaigns.
An official at the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has voiced concerns that market manipulation could become rampant in small-scale cryptocurrency spaces. The regulator currently has no one seriously patrolling the cryptocurrency market to try and spot bad actors. While U.S. government bodies have largely been sceptical regarding cryptocurrencies, they do see the critical role blockchain technology could play in the way they operate. The national mailing service is currently considering utilizing a blockchain to help cultivate digital trust, as outlined in patent documents published on 22 March. The patent application the US Postal Service filed was titled “Methods and Systems for Digital Trust Architecture” and had initially been presented in September 2017. This patent could mean the US Postal Service would be open to issuing their token that could be used on the platform.
Two cryptocurrency exchanges from Chile have called on the country’s banking association (Asociación de Bancos e Instituciones Financieras or ABIF) to issue a clear position regarding the new industry. The companies took this step after a number of Chilean banks reportedly shut down their accounts just for dealing with cryptocurrencies.
In a recent blog post, Coinbase announced their intention of accepting ERC20 Tokens. Therefore, probably only the most valuable ERC20 tokens will be listed on Coinbase first.
More than one in five college students have used their financial loans to invest in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, according to a recent survey conducted by the Student Loan Report. The survey asked 1,000 current college students with student loan debt about how they used the financial aid money they received and found that 21.2 percent of students have invested their loans in the cryptocurrency market. The exchange operator of CBOE Global Markets wrote a letter to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), recommending they not interfere in the development of a Bitcoin exchange-traded-fund (ETF) because they are similar to other commodity-based ETFs. CBOE President Chris Concannon’s letter was in written response to a letter issued by the SEC in January 2018 in which, among other concerns, the SEC expressed disquiet over sufficient liquidity in cryptocurrency markets, as well as potential risks for manipulation.
The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a consortium of trucking, shipping and logistics companies formed in August 2017, plans to have standards for the development of blockchain applications published this year. The standards aim to encompass BiTA standards will address smart contracts, freight payments, asset maintenance and ownership history, chain of custody of freight, and other issues facing the industry. This week, Canadian logistics company Purolator announced that it has joined BiTA. Ricardo Costa, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, said: “The applications for blockchain are endless and will provide the shipping and logistics industry with never-seen-before benefits.
A recent warning from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) shows the organization to be concerned about a new wave of dark web operators who are sending firearms to Canadians through sophisticated shipping methods. Rob O’Reilly, RCMP’s interim director of firearms regulatory services, points to cryptocurrencies as partially responsible for the emergence of this new market, saying that digital coins help hide these illicit sales from the authorities. Real estate deals in petro will be authorized in April, President Maduro announced. Maduro Says While Denominating Venezuela’s
Currency all citizens and legal entities in Venezuela can now buy the national cryptocurrency through its website and soon they will be able to spend their petros as well. Last month Maduro authorized all savings banks in the country to use the petro, Bitcoin.com reported. Maduro announced that more than 200,000 orders from 133 countries have been placed during the 30 days of the petro pre-sale. The president also said petros can now be purchased with fiat currencies like Russian rubles, Chinese yuan, Turkish lira and euro, as well as with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum and NEM. Earlier this week Venezuela’s head of state said 82.5 million petros had been sold since the launch of the national cryptocurrency in February.
NVIDIA, which specializes in semiconductors supporting artificial intelligence technology, is one of the biggest gainers of the global cryptocurrency craze as its graphics processing units (GPUs) are highly sought after by both gamers and crypto miners due to their high processing power. Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA’s co-founder and chief executive, told TechCrunch in an interview that the company needs to increase its GPU production to address the significant shortage in the market.
Dubai-based messaging service Telegram Group, which smashed the world record for selling a new cryptocurrency in February, is on track to raise another $850M as its initial coin offering extends toward a third month, according to three people familiar with the matter. Investors are placing sufficient orders in the second round even after the token was priced at more than triple last month’s level, two of the people said, asking not to be identified as the offer is private. The firm, registered in the British Virgin Islands with an office in Dubai, is finding enough interest among a global pool of investors who have been rocked by a volatile token market and whose sceptics say they doubt the Durovs can meet their goal to speed transactions processing toward a level of Visa or Mastercard. Telegram raised $850M from large investors last month, selling rights to virtual coins called Grams at $0.38 apiece, according to a filing.
Two imams in Zonguldak were dismissed from duty for allegedly trading the cryptocurrency bitcoin. The Directorate of Religious Affairs has also launched an investigation into the matter, according to reports yesterday. Aziziye Mosque imam Mecit K. and Dereköy Mosque imam Satilmis B. in Mithatpasa Quarter were reported to the provincial mufti’s office with the allegations of trading bitcoin online. The two imams were questioned within the scope of the investigation conducted by the appointed inspector.
The United States Department of Justice, in coordination with the Department of Treasury, has slapped charges against one Iranian entity and ten of its nationals as a part of a broader crackdown on hackers. The list also includes charges against Behzad Mesri, an Iranian national who is the chief suspect behind the cyber attack on the entertainment distributor, Home Box Office (HBO).
Paxful, a peer-to-peer crypto exchange, has positioned itself perfectly within the expanding African crypto-market. An impressive $40M worth of Bitcoin is bought and sold on the exchange on a monthly basis. According to a Bitcoinist report, Paxful is “happy” to serve a population that is severely underbanked and in need of access to the “online economic marketplace”. According to Tamba Lamin, technical architect for the Sierra Leone Open Election Data Platform, and his Medium blog titled ‘Setting the record straight about Agora’s Blockchain Elections Misleading Headlines on the Internet,’ “voting in Sierra Leone was a manual paper-based process”. Lamin drew his statements from the official 2018 Polling and Counting Procedures Manual published by NEC. On March 9, 2018, Agora published a press release with a headline titled ‘Swiss-based Agora powers world’s first ever blockchain elections in Sierra Leone’. “Agora is claiming undue credit for doing nothing that helped the people of Sierra Leone,” said Lamin to the RFI, “As Sierra Leoneans, we find this unethical and insulting to the people of this country”.
Four casts of Nelson Mandela’s hands were made by mining group Harmony Gold in 2002 Gold castings of the hands of South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela have been sold for $10M (£7M) in bitcoin. This is the first time artefacts of Mr Mandela have been sold in bitcoin.
Hotels in Kaliningrad, the capital of Russia’s westernmost region, will allow football fans to pay with bitcoin for their accommodation when they visit the country for this year’s FIFA World Cup, which will be held from June 14 to July 15. Some hotels in Kaliningrad are reportedly partnering with a local payment provider to offer the service.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a warning about tech support scammers who are trying to steal assets from crypto-exchanges’ clients.
A Russian bank may make a pioneering step for the country in allowing its investors to invest in cryptocurrency this year, reports claim. Various local media outlets quote Gazprombank senior vice president Aleksandr Sobol as saying “some kind of pilot” scheme involving cryptocurrency might surface as soon as the end of 2018.
Two former employees of Crimea’s Council of Ministers have been fined 30,000 rubles ($525) each for mining bitcoins on the Council’s computer network, Russian media outlets reported.
A draft bill aiming to protect the rights of cryptocurrency owners was introduced by the minister of finance in Russia, in hopes of boosting cryptocurrency trade in the country. Apart from protection, the bill is expected to regulate the use of “digital money” for payments in the country, according to reports. Bill No424632-7 shines a light on various cryptocurrency-related activities in the country, such as defining cryptocurrency as digital money and outlining digital rights of digital assets owners. Once signed into law, the bill will regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto mining, but bans cryptocurrencies.
Artyom Kozhin, deputy director of the information and press department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that his country was not involved in creating Venezuela’s controversial Petro cryptocurrency, any speculations on this issue are lies. Last week, Time Magazine reported that the Petro is a “half-hidden joint venture” between Venezuelan and Russian officials and businessmen.
Crimes and Viruses
Ransomware attacks, which encrypt and hold a computer user’s files hostage in exchange for payment, comprise one of the fastest growing forms of cyber attack. In a paper, scheduled to be presented at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy at San Francisco in May, the researchers provide a detailed account of the ransomware payment ecosystem, from initial attack to cash-out. The team estimates that at least 20,000 individuals made ransomware payments over the past two years, at a confirmed cost of $16 million, although the actual payment total is likely far higher. The researchers took advantage of the public nature of the bitcoin blockchain technology to trace ransom payments over a two-year period. Bitcoins are the most common currency of ransomware payments, and because most victims do not own them, the initial bitcoin purchase provides a starting point for tracking payments. Each ransomware victim is often given a unique payment address that directs to a bitcoin wallet where the ransom is collected.
Haider Pasha, chief technology officer for emerging markets at Symantec Middle East, told Gulf News that browser-based cryptocurrency mining, also known cryptojacking, is coming back to haunt websites and their visitors. According to Symantec’s 2018 Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) report, the UAE is ranked as the third highest country for the number of cryptominers in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region (globally ranked 32nd) while Saudi Arabia is ranked first regionally (globally ranked 19th). Pasha said the criminals are using coinmining malware to steal the processing power of users’ computers and cloud CPU usage to mine cryptocurrencies. Even though the number of ransomware variants increased by 46 percent last year, the number of ransomware families dropped, which suggest that they are innovating less and may have shifted their focus to new and higher value targets.
Government watchdogs are wary of bitcoin being used for illicit purposes, and now they have an example that seems ready for a Hollywood script! According to Europol, a cyber gang that stole more than €1B ($1.2B) from more than 100 financial institutions in 40 countries used crypto assets to cover their tracks. (I don’t think I’ve heard alot about this been published. Have you? Institutions unable to protect you money?) The alleged mastermind is a 34-year-old Ukrainian man whom officials identified as “Denis K,” who wanted to create a money-laundering cryptocurrency for the Russian mafia, El Mundo reported.
The Litecoin Foundation, a non-profit organization registered in Singapore with a mission to advance blockchain technologies today addressed the LTC community to inform them a couple of days ago, the Litecoin Foundation was contacted by Kenneth Asare, CEO of LitePay, who informed them that he has ceased all operations and is preparing to sell the company. Prior to that, the Foundation said they had approached Mr. Asare regarding his “less than transparent nature with the company and to express their, and the community’s concerns regarding his recent Reddit AMA” on 16 March which left users with more questions than answers”. Just goes to show how useful a session of AMA is!
LTC prices plunged as Litecoin’s payment processor LitePay abruptly terminated its operation just one month after its launch in February.
LTC O $160.10 C $118.92 H $161.01 L $109.55
Less than two weeks after Bitmain announced the Antminer X3—meant for mining Monero using the CryptoNight hashing algorithm the cryptocurrency’s network gets a software update meant to prevent this very thing from being effective. In the war between personal computing gear and ASICs, Monero clearly took the side of the “little guys” who mine the cryptocurrency using their systems with a software update that it uploaded on Saturday.
MONERO O $210.64 C $172.28 H $210.86 L $161.09
The co-founder of Ethereum has supported the idea of charging fees for the use of Ethereum blockchain for storage. He proposed to link the amount of the commission with the time the data is available in the network.
OmiseGO (OMG) and Ethereum founder, Vitalik Buterin, have used that decentralised power to skip the hurdles of large bank transfers, and donated $1M to refugee charity, GiveDirectly. “OmiseGo, with an additional generous contribution from Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, is donating the equivalent of $1M USD in OMG tokens directly to refugees living in extreme poverty, and GiveDirectly will deliver those funds,” Omise I, the parent company of OmiseGO wrote in a blog post. GiveDirectly is an organisation which passes the purchasing power directly to refugees rather than deciding how to spend it on their behalf, and more than 12,000 people will receive a grant in Uganda.
ETH O $523.55 C $394.99 H $526.10 L $364.56
Uphold, which calls itself a “cloud-based financial services platform,” has added the option to buy XRP, the cryptocurrency of the payment network Ripple. They can convert XRP into seven other cryptocurrencies, 23 fiat currencies, and four precious metals. Ripple, a leading real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange, and remittance network, has announced its $29M donation in support of public schools in the United States.
Ripple O $0.632 C $0.502 H $0.638 L $0.470
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
BCH O $968.27 C $698.27 H $978.59 L $670.45
DASH O $408.55 C $311.00 H $412.55 L $301.93
Zcash O $236.66 C $189.75 H $241.12 L $181.00
IOTA O $1.32 C $1.106 H $1.32 L $1.045