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  1. Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, took to Twitter to tell his thoughts about the statements that Jackson Palmer, co-founder of Dogecoin, expressed last week. While Palmer now has a negative vision of the cryptocurrency industry, Armstrong is in the opposite field. To Armstrong, the cryptocurrency industry has its problems, but it still provides an alternative for people who want more economic freedom. Coinbase CEO Faces Dogecoin Founder for His Views on Cryptocurrency Capitalistic, right-wing, centralized… these were some of the traits that the Dogecoin co-founder Jackson Palmer attributed to the cryptocurrency market as a whole earlier this week. Palmer’s thoughts about the current state of the cryptocurrency industry caused harsh reactions across social media. But one of the few that articulated a structured answer to Palmer’s tweetstorm was none other than Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase. Armstrong stated that while the cryptocurrency system as conceived now has its problems, it is a vastly better offer than what the traditional system offers. Armstrong stated: "If you believe government solutions are often inefficient, overpromise/underdeliver, and come with unintended consequences, and that personal responsibility mixed with free markets will create better outcomes for everyone, then crypto is a much needed breath of fresh air." To Armstrong, Palmer is wrong about a fundamental subject: crypto is not designed to solve income inequality. It is more about personal choice and opportunities. Regarding this, Armstrong declared: "Crypto is not going to solve wealth inequality – it’s not trying to create the same outcome for everyone. But it does create wealth mobility and more equality of opportunity for everyone. It levels the playing field, at least to some degree." To conclude, the CEO of Coinbase stated that cryptocurrency is just another choice in the financial world, but one that provides freedom to its users. Armstrong stressed: "Crypto is simply providing an alternative for people who want more freedom. Everyone can make their own choice, and that is probably a good thing." Brian Armstrong Has Always Strived to Promote Economic Freedom Armstrong’s views on the cryptocurrency market are not new or surprising. He was one of the first individuals that saw a future in the now booming cryptocurrency market back in 2012 when he founded Coinbase. Armstrong has since advocated for economic freedom and has (unsurprisingly) touted Coinbase as a trusted company to achieve that. In a public letter filed when Coinbase went public last April, Armstrong stated the current system was “rife with high fees, delays, unequal access, and barriers to innovation,” and that “everyone deserves access to financial services that can help empower them to create a better life for themselves.”
  2. On Saturday, former heavyweight boxing champion, Mike Tyson, asked his 5.6 million followers on Twitter which crypto asset they prefer: bitcoin or ethereum. Tyson is no stranger to the world of crypto and just recently stepped into the realm of non-fungible token (NFT) collectibles. Iron Mike Asks His Fans: ‘Which do you prefer, Bitcoin or Ethereum?’ The former professional boxer, otherwise known as “Kid Dynamite” and “Iron Mike,” tweeted about bitcoin and ethereum on Saturday and asked his followers which crypto asset they preferred. Tyson is quite familiar with bitcoin and on July 25, 2015, he tweeted about a bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM) that featured his image. He also shared a website called miketysonbitcoin.com which is now offline. At the time, Tyson connected with a firm called Bitcoin Direct LLC but the venture was quickly forgotten after some drama. In more recent times, Tyson has teamed up with the full-service creative agency, NFT studio 1ofone. According to the announcement, Tyson will drop his first official NFT collection with 1ofone this August and it will be available via opensea.io. The former heavyweight champion collaborated with digital artist Cory Van Lew and the NFT collection will present “iconic moments from his career,” unlockable content, and a limited release as well. “The more I learn about NFT’s the more excited I am to be a part of the crypto/tech community,” Tyson said in a statement about the NFT project. “It’s the future and I chose to partner with 1ofone to help me navigate through the NFT community with something truly innovative and creative that tells a story about who I am.” Tyson’s tweet on Saturday not only got attention from a great number of crypto supporters but also legendary rapper Busta Rhymes. Rhymes has been intrigued by cryptocurrencies as well recently and tweeted about his curiosity to his Twitter followers. After Tyson asked: “Which do you prefer, BTC or ETH?” Rhymes replied and said: “Mike, I’m right there with you. Spent the last 30 min reading the comment section.” In the comment section of Tyson’s tweet, there’s a myriad of responses from the crowd. Microstrategy’s CEO Michael Saylor responded and said: “Mike, I spent more than a thousand hours considering this question and chose bitcoin. So far, I have purchased $2.9 billion in BTC because I think it’s the future of digital property.” Even Twitter’s Jack Dorsey replied to Tyson and shared a website called hellobitco.in. Tyson’s Question Sees a Number of Responses Of course, a number of people shilled other crypto assets and a wide variety of cryptocurrencies are mentioned in Tyson’s thread. The official Baby Doge Coin Twitter account said: “Mike let’s talk #BabyDoge” with a boxing glove and dog emoji. Paxful executive Ray Youssef also responded to Tyson’s question. “Great to have you with us Mike,” Youssef remarked. “Bitcoin is halal and peaceful, honest money.” Youssef further added: "[Ethereum] is a platform for defi which is permissionless protobanking. Both have their place but I hold most in bitcoin and the people of Africa are using it everyday as a way out of economic apartheid." Others simply implied that Tyson didn’t have to choose if he owned both crypto assets. Of course, the Tyson tweet also led to a number of bitcoin fans and ether supporters battling. Most of which stemmed from the bitcoin maximalist crowd, while other crypto asset fans claimed there are superior coins Tyson didn’t mention. Another individual said: “ETH is an entire decentralized secure economy. BTC is [a] decentralized secure orange coin. So I prefer ETH.” The number of replies to Tyson’s question is very large and like Busta Rhymes said, one could easily spend thirty minutes reading them.
  3. An aspirant to the post of commissioner with the Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has urged the elections body to consider adopting blockchain technology. According to Justus Abonyo, a former official with the Social Democratic Party of Kenya, doing this will help Kenya reduce the cost of “running an election by up to 300 per cent.” Enhanced Transparency As the breakdown of the costs shared by Abonyo suggests, using an electoral management system based on a blockchain will see the cost of the ballot going down to as low as $0.50. The candidate explained: "The cost of a ballot in Kenya ranges between US$7 US$25 (Sh700-Sh2,500). If we use blockchain technology, this cost will go down to US$0.5 (Sh50). This is an area I would explore as a commissioner." In addition to significantly reducing the running costs, one local media outlet, the Star, also quotes Abonyo detailing other benefits that could be realized and these include “greater security and transparency.” Further, improved transparency could increase trust in election systems and help to prevent a repeat of the post-election violence seen in 2007. The violence, which resulted in a serious humanitarian and economic crisis, had been sparked by allegations of electoral manipulation. Credibility Enhanced With Blockchain In his comments before the selection panel for the appointment of IEBC commissioners, Abonyo used the opportunity to highlight the extent of his confidence in blockchain technology. Still, the aspiring commissioner suggested he will step down if the credibility of elections he presides over is questioned. He said: "I will listen to what observers are saying and other stakeholders like the voters themselves and if they are unanimous that the elections were not credible, I will step down." However, Abonyo says he still expects any aggrieved party to follow due process. This according to Abonyo means he will only move to act once someone has lodged a complaint with the court. He explained: “People are taken to court. I will not take myself to court. I will not go to court and accuse myself.”
  4. Digital currency markets have slipped in value this week as bitcoin has shed more than 8% of its value over the last seven days. The entire market capitalization of all 10,000+ crypto assets has also dropped 3.4% in value to $1.25 trillion on Monday. Crypto markets are following the trend of large drops seen across stock markets on Monday morning, as equities have significantly decreased in value. Crypto Markets Follow Monday’s Stock Market Rout, Entire Crypto Market Cap Sheds Over 3% Bitcoin dropped to a low of $30,400 on July 19, losing approximately 8.64% during the last week as the leading crypto asset slid 3.3% in 24 hours. Bitcoin’s market valuation is $575 billion at the time of writing and there’s $19 billion worth of BTC trade volume on Monday. The top five trading pairs with BTC include USDT, USD, BUSD, JPY, and EUR. The stablecoin tether (USDT) commands over 56% of today’s BTC trades. Out of the $1.25 trillion, BTC captures 46.4% of the overall valuation, while ethereum (ETH) commands 17% of the entire crypto economy. The second-largest crypto asset, in terms of market capitalization, is ethereum (ETH) and ether has lost over 13% this week. ETH is also down over 6% during the last 24 hours and has around $14 billion in global trade volume. The biggest seven-day losers on Monday include thorchain (RUNE) which is down over 40% and synthetix (SNX) down over 37%. The top three leading crypto assets on Monday include nem (XEM) up 6.8% this week, unus sed leo (LEO) up 1.9%, and hedera hashgraph (HBAR) which is up 1.4%. In a note sent to Bitcoin.com News, Pankaj Balani, CEO of the crypto trading platform Delta Exchange, explains the risk of dropping below $30K is now higher. “Bitcoin failed above $33,000 and is trading around $31,800 on the spot market,” Balani said. “Bitcoin has been in a consolidation phase and is trying to settle in the $30,000-$40,000 range. Having said that, BTC has found it challenging to move higher and the upper end of this range has been converging gradually.” The Delta Exchange executive further added: "Bitcoin failed above $36,000 last week and $33,000 this week. We have also continuously tested the bottom end of the above range which shows weakness in price and opens up the risk of a breakdown below $30,000. Overall, the risk of downside below 30,000 on Bitcoin is much higher now than what it was in the months of May and June." Equities Correction Could Impact Crypto Markets Negatively Short Term, Long-Term Confidence Remains High Alex Kuptsikevich, the Fxpro senior financial analyst, told Bitcoin.com News that an S&P 500 correction could negatively affect the overall crypto economy. At the time of writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 700 points, while Nasdaq, NYSE, and tech stocks have also shed significant value on Monday. “The Bitcoin network’s hash rate has never recovered to its peak and is currently at levels of late October 2019,” Kuptsikevich said. “An automatic decline should soon follow this in complexity. It is accepted that Bitcoin’s price follows the hash rate/complexity of mining, so the investment outlook is deteriorating for now.” Kuptsikevich’s analysis continued: "A correction in the S&P 500 could negatively contribute to the short-term dynamics of the crypto market. In this case, a correlation of the benchmark equity index and Bitcoin may well show its full potential, as similar cautionary sentiment prevails in both markets." Etoro’s senior analyst, Simon Peters, says that despite short-term corrections, long-term outlooks are still quite positive. “Recent harsh conditions for bitcoin and ether continued last week as both crypto assets saw significant sell-offs continue,” Peters explained to Bitcoin.com News on Monday. “Bitcoin’s recent woes deepened as the crypto asset slumped across the week, starting trading above $34,000 before losing ground. Likewise, ether has come down heavily from recent highs. ETH began the week above $2,000 but saw a quick sell off to trade below $1,900 at times,” the Etoro analyst added. “With yet another poor performing week,” Peters added, “speculation on the short-term price direction of major crypto assets is rife, with mixed opinions on price depending on what metric/indicators analysts are looking at.” Peters’ investors note to Bitcoin.com News concluded: “Long-term confidence remains high, however, with a recent survey of Fintech experts revealing more than half believe bitcoin is capable of becoming the global reserve currency by 2050.”
  5. trading platform in terms of trade volume. During the last 24 hours, Binance has recorded roughly $8.6 billion in swaps and the trading platform commands the highest trade volume out of all the derivatives exchanges worldwide. Binance’s Trading Platform Towers Over Competitors The cryptocurrency exchange Binance is the largest crypto trading platform in the world, in terms of trade volume on both spot and derivatives markets. Binance has been in numerous headlines in recent times as it has been dealing with regulatory complaints from government entities and financial institutions like Barclays and Santander. Despite all the negativity, the crypto asset exchange still dominates the pack in regard to the myriad crypto trading platforms worldwide. Binance holds the highest 24-hour crypto trade volume and at the time of writing, it commands $8.6 billion in swaps. The trading platform deals with 320 cryptocurrencies in total and 1,150 pairs. The $8.6 billion doesn’t account for the United States either, as Binance also operates a separate trading platform for U.S. residents. At the time of writing, Binance US captures $202 million in global trade volume with 53 cryptocurrencies and 110 pairs. Binance also commands the most trade volume in crypto derivatives markets as the platform’s cash-settled cryptocurrency futures has $35 billion in global volume on Monday. In terms of 24-hour trade volume, there are not that many exchanges that even come close to Binance. Where cryptocurrency spot markets are concerned, Hitbtc commands the second-largest position in terms of daily trades. However, Hitbtc’s $2.1 billion is 75% less than Binance’s spot market volume. Hitbtc’s spot volume is followed by Upbit ($2B), Huobi ($2B), Changelly ($1.93B), Bitcoin.com Exchange ($1.92B), and Okex ($1.87B). Binance Derivatives Commands $35 Billion in Volume, Transparent Exchange Balance Rankings Show Binance Holds $14 Billion in Reserves Moving on to cryptocurrency derivatives exchange volumes, Binance once again takes the lead. With a whopping $35 billion in 24-hour futures volume and $6.4 billion in open interest, no other exchange comes close to Binance. Following Binance in derivatives exchange volume is Okex with $8.5 billion in 24-hour volume and $2.4 billion in open interest. Binance and Okex are followed by Huobi ($7.9B), Bybit ($6.1B), Cointiger ($5.5B), Bitz ($4.2B), and FTX ($4.1B). Binance’s cash-settled derivatives exchange offers 43 futures and 138 perpetuals in comparison to Okex’s 139 perpetuals and 1,408 futures products. The cryptocurrency exchange Binance doesn’t stop with just crypto spot and derivatives offerings either, as the company also operates a decentralized exchange (dex). While Binance is the largest centralized crypto spot exchange and derivatives platform, the company’s Binance Dex holds the 32nd position among the top dex platforms today. Binance Dex pulls in $3.5 million in global trade volume between 105 coins and 158 trading pairs. The firm’s dex also saw 12,869,668 unique visitors on Monday and the top trade is currently BNB/BUSD. Still, by market share by volume, Binance only captured 0.1% of all the dex trade volumes during the last 24 hours. In terms of crypto reserves held, Binance holds the second-largest crypto reserves just below the trading platform Coinbase. Statistics via Bituniverse. Despite Binance having numerous issues over the last few weeks and all the negative headlines, the company is still a major force to be reckoned with in terms of crypto spot and derivatives volumes. Another thing people may not know about Binance is that the platform is the second-largest crypto exchange in terms of reserve balances. Only Coinbase towers over Binance with $34.75 billion in BTC and ETH reserves. However, between BTC, ETH, and BUSD, data from Bituniverse shows Binance holds a massive $14.66 billion in crypto reserve assets on July 19, 2021.
  6. Law enforcement agencies in Portugal have coordinated an operation targeting a pirate IPTV service. In addition to domestic and non-domestic searches, six men and three women were arrested. Various items of computer equipment, bank accounts, cash, and a car were seized. One of the arrested was detained for possession of illegal firearms according to the national crime agency. Entertainment industry companies, anti-piracy partners and law enforcement groups are continuing their efforts to reduce the availability of pirate IPTV services worldwide. This has now extended to the island of Portugal, where law enforcement agencies have carried out a rare crackdown on a locally significant operation accused of profiting from piracy. Operation Dark Stream According to the Polícia Judiciária (Judicial Police), the National Unit for Combating Cybercrime and Technological Crime (UNC3T) was supported by the Northern and Southern Directorates, Évora Local Criminal Investigation Unit, and the Computer Technology Expertise Unit (UPTI) in a national operation to target illegal streaming. The various agencies link several crimes to the operation including computer-based fraud, illegitimate access, tax fraud, money laundering and criminal association. After carrying out a total of 13 searches – nine domestic and four non-domestic, six men and three women aged between 35 and 55 were arrested, one in connection with the possession of illegal firearms. Equipment and Property Seizures Information provided by the Judicial Police indicates that large volumes of property were seized in the operation, including the contents of six server rooms and other items of computer equipment linked to the operation of the illegal IPTV service. Police agencies also seized bank accounts plus around €8,000.00 in cash and a car. Official authorities have not named the service in question but local reports have identified it as ‘IPTV Do Sogro’ (English: IPTV of the Father-in-Law), which operates from Sogrotv.com. At the time of writing the service’s web portal appears to be functional but whether that is also true for the underlying service remains unclear. Two-Year Investigation According to the authorities, the investigation began in 2019. It has not been revealed which rightsholders filed the initial complaint, However, the damage is estimated to be around half a million euros, with a “telecommunications provider” with broadcasting rights cited as the main victim. The main point of interest was the provision of illegal streams of TV shows to at least several hundred regular subscribers, a figure that is expected to grow as the investigation develops. Local media sources indicate that the service had in excess of 1,000 customers, earning profits of 150,000 euros in the last two years. According to Sapo.pt, the illegal distribution of TV content in Portugal breaches several laws including those relating to illegitimate access and defeating technological protection measures. Penalties range from one to five years in prison. Tax fraud and money laundering offenses also carry a potential prison sentence of up to five years. Anti-Piracy Operations Are Relatively Rare in Portugal Portugal is no stranger to the fight against pirate sites and services. The country implemented a ground-breaking ISP blocking scheme in 2015 that is overseen by the government but has no judicial oversight. In 2017, the then-MPAA described the program as the best international example of anti-piracy practices. Since then, reports of anti-piracy operations targeting specific operations have been relatively rare, although the country did play an important role in the March 2021 dismantling of Mobdro, one of the world’s most popular pirate streaming apps.
  7. Twitch users who play copyrighted music in the background leave themselves open to DMCA notices that can result in a ban. Other than expensive licensing there has been no obvious solution to this problem but thanks to developer Peter Frydenlund Madsen, Twitch streamers can now play copyrighted music to their fans, without risking infringement complaints. Last summer, chaos urupted on Twitch when users were suddenly bombarded with copyright infringement notices for content uploaded during 2017 and 2019. That initial batch was the work of the RIAA and in October 2020 the problems were back again when the music industry group fired off a second wave of complaints. In May, Twitch sent out an email noting that it had received another batch of DMCA takedown notices from music publishers, noting that the majority targeted streamers listening to background music while playing video games. But what if it was possible to stream copyrighted background music to users on Twitch, without receiving DMCA notices. And ensuring artists also get paid? Achieving the Impossible, Simply Unless users (or indeed Twitch) obtain licenses to stream mainstream music to the public, DMCA notices are always going to be a problem. However, with some lateral thinking, developer Peter Frydenlund Madsen, known on Twitch as Pequeno0, has come up with an elegant solution that will be useful to millions of users. Pequeno0’s solution is SpotifySynchronizer, a Twitch extension that synchronizes the streamer’s Spotify with the viewer’s Spotify, so that stream viewers can listen to the same music as the streamer, at exactly the same time. The beauty here is that no copyrighted tracks are distributed or recorded with or even without permission. The user simply connects to the streamer’s Spotify using the extension, executes a ‘force sync’ if necessary, and then listens to exactly the same music as the streamer, at exactly the same time, on their own machine. And because the music is being played on Spotify, the artists get paid. SpotifySynchronizer, GTA V RP and Twitch “I’ve watched a lot of GTA V RP on Twitch, and they used to play a lot of music, which fit the RP,” Pequeno0 informs TorrentFreak. “When the DMCA strikes hit, they were hit hard. So it was actually with them in mind that I started the project. So I talked to a friend of mine, and we came up with this idea of synchronizing music in a way that would still pay the artists.” Pequeno0 says he uses Spotify himself and since it’s a widely used service and accessible to millions – not to mention having a public API that is easy to use – the decision to integrate the platform was obvious. It was not without technical issues, however. Twitch and Spotify – Please Play Nicely “Getting to understand the Twitch API together with the Spotify API was problematic to start with. For example, it’s not possible to embed an iFrame in the Twitch extension. But usually logging in with Spotify happens in an iframe with OAuth,” Pequeno0 says. “I had to make a popup, and figure out how to send back the results of this popup to the extension to get the token to use for Spotify. This might be changed in the future to a better system to support more platforms.” Furthermore, Pequeno0 says that Spotify doesn’t provide any notification service when a song is changed. This means he has to ask Spotify which song is currently playing if the streamer changes tracks mid-song. “I could have made a check every few seconds, but the Spotify API also has rate limitation, so I decided against it. To overcome these issues, I had to make the ‘Force Sync’ button. It basically asks Spotify what the streamer is currently playing, and updates it with the server.” The developer says he doesn’t know how much time he’s spent on the project but does spend some money on a server to store a minimal amount of data. This is to make sure that viewers who log in when a track is already being played can discover the name of that track without having to communicate with the streamer’s part of the extension. The Future: Maybe More Music Services While Pequeno0 has been working on SpotifySynchronizer for some months now as a side project, he’s not ruling out more development. This will largely depend on how many people use the extension but he does have some early plans. “If the extension gets very popular, it could be extended to use even more services, and maybe even lookup songs on different music services, so the viewer/streamer could use different services but listen to the same songs,” Pequeno0 explains. In the meantime, the developer is providing instructions for those interested in testing SpotifySynchronizer on both the streaming and receiving ends. He promises there will be no DMCA notices for either. 1. The streamer installs the Extension and adds the panel to the channel. 2. Streamer starts Spotify, then starts the Live-Config panel found in the Creator Dashboard -> Stream Manager -> SpotifySynchronizer, then logs in with Spotify through the popup. The streamer then keeps this Live-Config panel open, as this is what does the synchronization. 3. If the streamer changes music mid-song, the “Force Sync” button has to be pressed to update it for the viewers. 4. Viewer opens Spotify and starts any song. This is a requirement, as the Spotify API can’t start playing if it doesn’t know which device is playing music. 5. Viewer logs in with SpotifySynchronizer below the stream on the streamer’s channel. If the viewer’s Spotify does not change to the song being played by the Streamer, the ‘Force Sync’ button can be used on the viewer’s side to get the currently playing song.
  8. A group of Paraguayan lawmakers presented a ‘Bitcoin bill’ in the National Congress last week, but it turned out to be a very different proposal than what crypto followers expected. The bill seeks to control and regulate cryptocurrency transactions and establish taxes. There is no mention of declaring bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies as legal tender anywhere in the proposal. “Bitcoin Bill” Presented in Paraguay The long-hyped ‘Bitcoin bill’ was at last presented in Paraguay to the National Congress by two lawmakers last week, but it was not what some had anticipated. The project presented by deputy Carlos Rejala and the liberal senator Fernando Silva Facetti doesn’t aim to declare bitcoin as legal tender, as El Salvador did last month. In fact, it states the opposite. An early draft states: “Digital assets are not legal tender currencies used by the Paraguayan State, and for this reason they are not backed by the Central Bank of Paraguay” Instead, the proposed law seeks to regulate crypto transactions for the state to collect taxes for trading and other use cases. The law proposes the Central Bank of Paraguay as the comptroller of all the entities related to cryptocurrencies. Facetti, when consulted about the direction of the proposed law, stated: This is not a legal tender, this is a commodity and the purpose of the law is to regulate and control this industry. That is the base project that we really have today. Mining and Trading Also Regulated The law also mentions bitcoin mining and trading as activities under its scope. Mining-related imports will be taxed with 5% corresponding to an aggregated value tax if the project gets approved. Also, cryptocurrency traders will have to be licensed annually and to-be-created state institutions will carry a record of these. The project states: “Any person whose main activity is that of trader must have an authorization issued by a competent authority, which enables him to carry out consultancies or transactions through a mandate or administration contract. The law describes sanctions for not complying with these mandates, but it doesn’t specify the forms these sanctions would take. If approved, the law would give a period for miners to register with the government and get operational licenses. To conclude, the law mentions the creation of the Digital Securities Fluctuation Reserve Fund, which would aid traders that lose digital assets in the market.
  9. Just before the antivirus tycoon John McAfee was found dead in Spain, he told the public from prison that U.S. federal authorities seized all of his assets and he had “nothing.” Now a biographer who is writing a McAfee-based biography has corroborated McAfee’s story. The author Mark Eglinton says that McAfee was also unable to pay for the requested biography. McAfee Wasn’t Able to Pay for Requested Biography Expenses In 1987, John McAfee wrote the first commercial-grade antivirus software and by 1994 he sold his stake in the company and resigned. By 2007, reports show that McAfee’s net wealth peaked at $100 million but allegedly his funds quickly evaporated in the 2008 financial crisis. A picture of John McAfee when he lived in Belize for a number of years. McAfee’s antivirus firm called McAfee was bought out by Intel in 2010 for $7.6 billion. After Intel changed the name of the company to “Intel Security,” McAfee made a statement that he was freed “from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet.” In 2016, Intel rebranded again and reverted the name back to McAfee. McAfee started close to ten companies after leaving the antivirus software firm and he resided in Belize for a number of years. In 2013, McAfee came back to the U.S. when it was discovered he was being questioned for murder by the authorities in Belize. Speaking with the publication the dailymail.co.uk, Mark Eglinton, an author who was working on McAfee’s biography said the former antivirus tycoon was broke. The author’s book is called “No Domain: The John McAfee Tapes” and it contains a large quantity of interviews with McAfee. Eglinton explained to Dailymail this week that toward the end, McAfee wasn’t able to pay for the requested biography’s expenses. “I don’t doubt that if he could have helped he would have,” Eglinton insisted. McAfee told him at the time: I can’t do it, my financial situation is worse than yours. Biographer Claims McAfee Built Extravagant Homes and Bought ‘Absolutely Bizarre Properties’ Reports have noted on countless occasions that McAfee lost his fortune during the financial crisis in 2008 but Eglinton rebuffed this theory. “We got a lot into where he spent his money over the years,” Eglinton said during his interview. “He had his money in very safe investments, but he built houses, absolutely bizarre properties. Some of them, he never slept a night in the property,” the biographer added. Because of the Great Recession, some of McAfee’s properties were sold at significant losses. John McAfee pictured at his extravagant home in Woodland Park, Colorado. For instance, the report notes that McAfee once owned a Woodland Park, Colorado compound, which was once valued at $25 million when he purchased the property. The property was later auctioned in 2007 to a commodities trader for $5.72 million. The Dailymail reporter Keith Griffith asked Eglinton about McAfee’s last tweet from prison when he told people the U.S. seized all of his wealth. “The U.S. believes I have hidden crypto,” McAfee tweeted before he passed. “I wish I did but it has dissolved through the many hands of Team McAfee (your belief is not required), and my remaining assets are all seized. My friends evaporated through fear of association. I have nothing. Yet, I regret nothing.” Eglinton told Griffith that McAfee liked to brag about being wealthy rather than admitting he was broke. Before McAfee’s final tweet and his issues with U.S. law enforcement, one could assume McAfee still had lots of money at his disposal. “Rather than pretend he didn’t have it, I think he was pretending he did,” Eglinton said. The biographer further noted that the book will showcase a side of McAfee people haven’t really seen. “What will surprise people about this book is the deep philosophy of John McAfee,” Eglinton’s interview concluded.
  10. An industry association representing the Russian crypto sector has launched a project to entice bitcoin miners. Despite its abundant sources of cheap energy, Russia is now lagging behind Kazakhstan, another Eurasian Economic Union member, in terms of cryptocurrency production. Russian Project Aims to Expand Country’s Crypto Mining Capacity The Russian Association of Crypto Industry and Blockchain (Racib) has unveiled a project to bring a larger portion of the global computing potential engaged in cryptocurrency mining to Russia. The Russian Federation, Racib noted in an announcement, ranks among the top five nations by total electricity production. What’s more, the country’s energy system features unique characteristics that can benefit enterprises involved in the minting of digital coins. Racib has listed a number of them, including the large surplus of power-generating capacity which reaches 50% in certain regions. The colder Russian climate is another advantage as it allows the cooling of mining equipment at little cost, thus improving the efficiency of data centers. Add to that the wide availability of traditional fuels and other energy resources, as well as the low population density in many areas that makes it possible to deploy large-scale facilities and infrastructure. Racib emphasizes: All this … provides the best conditions for the formation of specialized clusters in the country to support the global cryptocurrency networks and the infrastructure of the global digital economy. The crypto association says it will implement the project in close cooperation with central and regional Russian authorities and state-run corporations. Several working groups have been established already with the participation of the energy industry and public institutions. The organization claims its main foreign partner in the project is a “consortium of the largest mining companies in China.” Amid an ongoing crackdown on crypto miners in the People’s Republic, Racib hopes some of them will transfer their computing power to the Russian Federation to increase Russia’s share of the global hashrate. Kazakhstan Overtakes Russia as Crypto Mining Destination Environmental concerns are believed to be a major motive behind Beijing’s squeeze on crypto mining and Racib thinks Russia has an answer. Eco-friendly hydro and nuclear energy sources form around 40% of the country’s energy balance. And as far as Bitcoin is concerned, Russia’s involvement in the miners’ migration from China should “provide a more decentralized network format of the main digital currency” and help “avoid another concentration of mining resources in one region, in this case North America.” Chinese miners are already on the move, however, and Russia should hurry up if it wants to lure some of them to its territory. Others have been quicker to take advantage of the shift, including Kazakhstan, another former Soviet Republic, and a member of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Evolution of country share in global hashrate (monthly average). Source: University of Cambridge. In less than two years, the Central Asian country has increased its share in the global bitcoin extraction by almost six times, from 1.4% to 8.2%, according to a study conducted by the University of Cambridge. By crypto mining volume, Kazakhstan is now third in the world, the data quoted by RBC (a major Russian business news portal) shows, overtaking Russia which ranks fourth with 6.8%. During the same period, between September 2019 and April of 2021, China’s share has dropped from 75.5% to 46%, while the United States has climbed to second place, increasing its share from 4.1% to 16.8%, the report details. According to the research, the Islamic Republic of Iran is now fifth with 4.6%. Still, Russia has a chance to improve its position as Kazakhstan recently introduced a surcharge for electricity consumed by miners despite opposition from the local crypto industry.
  11. Paul Hansmeier, one of the lead attorneys behind the controversial Prenda Law firm, has asked the court for a reduction of his 14-year prison sentence. The disbarred lawyer says that he faced extraordinarily difficult living conditions in prison due to the COVID pandemic. While the measures were well-intended, they didn't prevent the lawyer from getting infected. In 2019, a U.S. District Court in Minnesota sentenced Paul Hansmeier to 14 years in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release. Hansmeier was a key player at the Prenda Law firm, which pursued cases against people who were suspected of downloading pirated porn videos via BitTorrent. While suing alleged pirates is not illegal, Prenda Law went much further. Over the years the firm faced negative court rulings over identity theft, misrepresentation, and even deception. The Pirate Honeypot Most controversial were the shocking revelations that Prenda itself produced adult videos and uploaded its own torrents to The Pirate Bay. In doing so, the company created a honeypot for the people they later sued over pirate downloads. The allegations were serious enough to appear on the radar of US law enforcement agencies which launched a criminal investigation, culminating in prison sentences for the two key players. Today, Paul Hansmeier and his former colleague John Steele are both in prison. While the latter received a reduced sentence for his cooperative stance, Hansmeier was sentenced to 14 years in prison, a verdict he appealed. To make a point, the lawyer even restarted his honeypot scheme from prison. Lawyer Continues Fight Earlier this year the Court of Appeal upheld the original ruling after Hansmeier’s motion to dismiss the claims was denied. In addition, the Court also confirmed that the lawyer must pay victims more than $1.5 million in restitution. This was a clear setback for Hansmeier, but it’s not the end of his legal battle. Over the past year and a half, he filed multiple lawsuits involving several (former) law enforcement officials and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. This has reached the point where these federal defendants are clearly fed up with Hansmeier’s activities. A few weeks ago, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Anders Folk asked the court to restrict Hansmeier’s pro se filings, fearing that even more lawsuits could come in. Hansmeier Wants Sentence Reduction Most recently, the convicted lawyer added a new approach to his arsenal. In another pro se motion, Hansmeier asks a Minnesota federal court to reduce his sentence, due to the hardships he endures as a result of restrictive COVID-prevention measures. April last year, President Trump declared a national emergency and, as a result, federal prisons including the one in Sandstone where Hansmeier resides, took various restrictive measures. Among other things, prisoners had no access to fresh air, sunlight, or exercise. They were required to stay confined 24/7 while family visits and education programs were canceled as well. According to Hansmeier, these circumstances were much harder than the court intended. At the same time, they did very little to limit COVID infections. “However well intentioned these measures may have been, these measures subjected Defendant to conditions that were orders of degrees harsher than what this Court could have reasonably anticipated when it weighed the 18 U.S:C. 3553 factors and sentenced Defendant to a term of imprisonment,” he writes. “Moreover, these harsh conditions–which, again, were aimed at safeguarding prisoners—were, in fact, entirely ineffective in safeguarding Defendant against infection.” The lawyer says that nearly all inmates eventually contracted COVID, he himself included. Meanwhile, the stringent preventative measures remained active for many months. In the request, Hansmeier mentions an inmate who served 38 years in the Bureau of Prisons across the US, who said that the COVD restrictions resulted in the very worst living conditions he had ever experienced. Through this motion, Hansmeier hopes that the court will reduce his sentence. While he doesn’t object to an immediate release, a minimum reduction of 14 months should be fair. “Though Defendant would accept the Court’s granting of immediate release if it were to be ordered, at a minimum Defendant is requesting a 14 month reduction in sentence to account for the 14 months of extraordinarily difficult living conditions that Defendant has been subjected to during the COVID-19 pandemic.” This isn’t the first time that the lawyer has used COVID as an argument to be released from prison. When the Coronavirus outbreak started last year he requested a temporary release, fearing that the risk of infection was higher inside the prison. That request was eventually denied.
  12. A data center busted by Ukrainian law enforcement this month for suspected electricity theft may have had a purpose different from mining cryptocurrencies. Ukraine’s security service described the facility as the “largest underground crypto farm” found to date but media reports are challenging that assertion. Ukrainian Company Files Complaints Against SBU Raid on Its Facility Earlier in July, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced it uncovered a crypto mining farm that had been powered with stolen energy in the city of Vinnytsia. Officers seized around 5,000 units of hardware, including 3,800 gaming consoles and 500 video cards, from a former warehouse of Vinnytsiaoblenerho. The local electric utility allegedly suffered losses of up to $256,000. The illegal mining facility, the law enforcement agency said, was operated by residents of Vinnytsia and the capital Kyiv. According to an article by Ain.ua, the confiscated equipment belongs to a company called MMI Engineering which is engaged in software development, network maintenance, and AI training. Its lawyers contacted the news outlet and accused the SBU of spreading false information. Source: MMI Engineering The IT firm claims it buys its electricity from JSC Vinnytsiaoblenerho and the area’s grid operator, Enera Vinnytsia Ltd., paying its bills at commercial rates and in accordance with the meter readings. It also rents the premises hosting its hardware from a company called Alfa Energy which is the current owner of the warehouse. Meanwhile, Vinnytsiaoblenerho released a statement, according to which the warehouse has never been occupied by a cryptocurrency farm. Its employees were also unable to detect any signs of electricity theft during an investigation conducted with representatives of the regional branch of Ukraine’s State Inspectorate for Energy Supervision. The utility emphasized: The information about multimillion dollar thefts of electricity does not correspond to reality. MMI Engineering said the seized equipment costs about 30 million Ukrainian hryvnia (over $1 million) and it’s now trying to get it back. The company added that the SBU raid has paralyzed its operations and its lawyers have already filed official complaints with the Pechersk District Court and the Prosecutor General’s Office in Kyiv. Suspected Crypto Mining Farm Turns Out to Be Minting In-Game Currency The Ukrainian entity, which is owned by the UAE-based firm Zafar Technology, did not provide any details regarding the specific use of its computer equipment. Playstation 4 Slims gaming consoles and discs have been spotted in the photographs released by the SBU on June 8. And although it’s generally possible to mine cryptos with them, many in Ukraine believe it’s more likely the consoles have been used for gaming-related applications. The evidence suggests that the facility in Vinnytsia could have been a gaming bot farm rather than a crypto mining one. According to an investigative report by the Ukrainian business portal Delo.ua, the bot farm may have been used for grinding. That’s when gamers employ software to perform repetitive tasks in gameplay that reward the player with something valuable in the particular scenario like gaining experience points, for example, or raising a character’s level. The SBU declined to comment on the possible use of the hardware citing the ongoing investigation. Delo is quoting an unnamed source from the SBU, who reportedly said that the Playstations were used for “pumping bots” for FIFA, EA Games’ famous soccer video game series. In FIFA’s popular Ultimate Team mode, gamers can gather a team of favorite players and compete against each other online. They can either spend real cash on loot boxes that give them a limited chance of obtaining high-value cards, Eurogamer explains, or play for months in order to save enough FUT coins, the in-game currency, to spend on the FIFA auction house. It appears the PS4 consoles in the Ukrainian bot farm have been grinding to create accounts loaded with FUT money that can be subsequently sold to gamers, likely on the black market.
  13. The El Salvador government has plans to launch a native cryptocurrency that consumers will be able to use for services, Latin American digital newspaper El Faro reported Friday night. Ibrajim and Yusef Bukele, the brothers of the country’s president, Nayib Bukele, told prospective investors that the cryptocurrency, which is currently referenced as the Colon dollar, would be introduced by the end of 2021, according to the report, which cited video recordings of the brothers discussing the proposal with these investors. The brothers said that they represented the president, according to the report, which was also based on documents that El Faro had obtained. The news comes weeks after the Central American country’s government overwhelmingly approved the president’s bitcoin law, which will treat the original cryptocurrency as legal tender and require all businesses to accept it as payment for goods and services by September. Subscribe to The Node, our daily report on top news and ideas in crypto. SUBSCRIBE By signing up, you will receive emails about CoinDesk products and you agree to our terms & conditions and privacy policy. A spokesperson for the El Salvador government told El Faro that the plan was “discarded” but the newspaper, citing an unidentified source, said the plans are currently on track. The president’s brothers reportedly met with representatives from Cardano, WhizGrid and Algorand at different times, according to the paper.
  14. Bitcoin bounced to around $32,200 after touching a 2.5-week low early Friday near $31,000. The largest cryptocurrency by market value may have been buoyed by a CoinDesk report that Bank of America has approved trading in bitcoin futures for some clients, according to Edward Moya, senior market analyst for Oanda. “This is a big commitment for America’s second-largest bank and signals that interest in trading cryptocurrencies is here to stay,” Moya wrote in an email. “On Wall Street, if one bank sees opportunity in doing something risky, the rest will easily justify following suit.” Latest prices Cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC): $31,964.2, +1.04% Ether (ETH): $1,917.5, -0.29% Traditional markets: S&P 500: 4327.1, -0.75% Gold: $1810.9, -1.01% 10-year Treasury yield closed at 1.299%, compared with 1.303% on Thursday Analysts said bitcoin might be prepping for a price breakout – higher or lower – after trading in a range between roughly $30,000 and $40,000 for the past eight weeks. Subscribe to First Mover, our daily newsletter about markets. SUBSCRIBE By signing up, you will receive emails about CoinDesk products and you agree to our terms & conditions and privacy policy. The big concern is a drop below the psychological level of $30,000 might trigger additional selling as options traders look to square positions. “There is a big move coming,” blockchain analyst William Clemente III wrote Friday in Anthony Pompliano’s newsletter.” Theoretically, we could be looking at this big move in the next few days but could take up to those full three weeks.” The breakout looks more likely to be to the downside, based on the look of bitcoin’s price chart, according to Mati Greenspan, founder of the cryptocurrency and foreign-exchange analysis firm Quantum Economics. “Bitcoin’s chart looks really ugly at the moment,” Greenspan wrote in his newsletter. “The downward slope that has materialized over the last few days gives the appearance that gravitational forces are calling for a retest of the red-line support at $20,000, the previous all-time high. In technical terms, this is known as capitulation.” Circle and crypto investors Earlier this month, Circle, the company behind the fast-growing dollar-linked stablecoin USDC, announced plans to become a public company at a $4.5 billion valuation, via a deal with a special-purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC). Charlie Morris, founder of ByteTree Asset Management, speculated this week the deal could end up luring more investors to cryptocurrencies. It’s “unquestionably the starter stock for the cautious,” Morris wrote July 14 in his weekly newsletter. Big investors might find the stock hard to resist due to USDC’s fast growth: The stablecoin’s supply has soared to more than $25 billion, from about $3.9 billion at the start of the year. “It’s clear to the eye this company is growing like a weed,” Morris wrote. What might make the new shares more attractive for portfolios is that USDC “powers crypto, yet has none of the volatility, making it a natural haven in comparison to the asset managers or miners whose fortunes are linked to crypto prices,” according to Morris. But that might just be a camel’s nose under the tent: “The old world will end up owning all of these stocks regardless, and that is why index funds always amuse me. They just buy whatever is stuck in front of them, meaning that investors who are trying hard to avoid crypto will end up owning it. Before long, everyone will be invested in crypto and crypto stocks, whether they like it or not, and Circle’s listing will be a crowd pleaser.”
  15. German bank Comdirect, with about three million customers, is now offering 11 cryptocurrency exchange-traded products (ETPs). “Comdirect has succeeded in significantly bridging crypto investments to retirement plans, something that our clients have longed for a while,” the bank said. German Bank Offering Crypto ETPs to Clients German direct bank Comdirect AG is now offering 11 cryptocurrency exchange-traded products (ETPs) from 21shares AG. The bank provides online brokerage, banking, and advisory services in Germany. Announcing that its exclusive partnership with Comdirect was effective Tuesday, 21shares detailed: In this innovative partnership, 21shares was retained as the sole provider of physically-backed crypto ETPs to the online broker’s savings plan program (Spar plan). The 11 ETPs are currently listed in Germany and are now available on the Comdirect platform at zero commissions, the announcement adds. The ETPs offer investments in bitcoin, ethereum, XRP, bitcoin cash, polkadot, stellar, cardano, solana, and more. Hany Rashwan, CEO of 21shares, explained that his company was “the first crypto issuer to list a fully collateralized, 100% physically-backed bitcoin ETP on most German exchanges back in 2019.” In addition, it is currently “the only issuer to admit four crypto ETPs on Xetra alone.” The company has also listed “the world’s first physically-backed crypto ETP on the SIX Swiss Exchange in 2018,” he said, elaborating: We are very excited to offer German clients who wish to add bitcoin and other crypto assets to their savings plan a compelling option to do so thanks to Comdirect, an option that was not available for any crypto products until now. Comdirect’s product manager and crypto saving plan initiator, Rene Louis Delrieux, noted that through Comdirect, “investors are now able to use crypto ETPs by 21shares which fits the needs of our demanding clients and ensures market participation. This additional service adds flexibility for immediate use.” She opined: Together with our partner 21shares, Comdirect has succeeded in significantly bridging crypto investments to retirement plans, something that our clients have longed for a while.
  16. Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has announced it will no longer support the trading of stock tokens. The decision comes against the backdrop of an ongoing regulatory crackdown, with Hong Kong becoming the latest to declare that the platform is not licensed to provide such services in its jurisdiction. Stock Tokens No Longer Available for Purchase on Binance.com Binance, the world’s leading digital asset exchange by daily volume, is ceasing support for stock tokens. The coin trading platform explained that the move is part of its continuous evaluation of products, but it also comes amid an increasing pressure on the exchange from regulators around the world. On Friday, the crypto company said: "Today, we are announcing that we will be winding down support for stock tokens on Binance.com to shift our commercial focus to other product offerings." The exchange pointed out that the suspension is “effective immediately,” with stock tokens already unavailable for purchase on Binance.com. The platform will not support any stock tokens after Oct. 14, 2021 but investors will be able to hold and sell them over the next 90 days. The announcement further details that “all stock token positions on Binance.com will be closed at 2021-10-15 13:30 (UTC).” Binance said the closing prices will be based on actual executed prices after the market opens for trading on Oct. 15. It warned these may be different from the rates registered a day earlier. A Binance spokesperson was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as stating: "We believe that shifting our commercial focus to other product offerings will better serve our users for the long term." Residents of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will have an option to transfer their stock tokens to a new portal to be launched by CM-Equity AG in early October. The transition will be subject to additional know-your-customer (KYC) procedures, Binance added, noting that all stock tokens listed on Binance.com are products issued and sold by the Germany-based CM-Equity. Hong Kong Securities Commission Warns Against Stock Token Purchases on Binance Binance’s decision coincides with a growing number of regulators expressing concerns over the exchange offering tokenized stocks among other products and services without authorization. The list includes regulatory bodies in Italy, Lithuania, the U.K., Japan, and Germany where the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, Bafin, said earlier this year that tokens linked to stocks of companies like Tesla represent securities, if they can be transferred and traded on a cryptocurrency exchange. Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) became the latest agency to issue a warning against Binance. On Friday, the regulator said it’s “aware that Binance has offered trading services in stock tokens in a number of jurisdictions and is concerned that these services may also be offered to Hong Kong investors.” The SFC emphasized that “no entity in the Binance group is licensed or registered to conduct ‘regulated activity’ in Hong Kong.” The commission elaborated that stock tokens are likely to be “securities” under the Securities and Futures Ordinance of the Chinese special administrative region. And if that’s the case, they should be subject to the regulatory remit of the SFC. The regulator warned that the marketing and distribution of such tokens, “whether in Hong Kong or targeting Hong Kong investors,” constitute a “regulated activity” and require a license. Anyone offering stock tokens in the city without registration may face criminal charges, the securities commission stressed, urging potential investors to be “extremely careful” with stock token purchases on unregulated platforms.
  17. Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has issued a warning about unregulated cryptocurrency trading platforms, particularly Binance. The regulator said that the crypto exchange is offering the trading of “stock tokens.” The SFC issued a statement Friday warning the public about unregulated crypto trading platforms. The regulator addressed Binance in particular, stating that the global crypto exchange may be offering trading services in “stock tokens” to Hong Kong investors. The SFC detailed: "The SFC wishes to make it clear that no entity in the Binance group is licensed or registered to conduct ‘regulated activity’ in Hong Kong." “Stock tokens are virtual assets that are represented to be backed by different depository portfolios of underlying overseas listed stocks,” the SFC detailed. The regulator noted that “In Hong Kong, stock tokens are likely to be ‘securities.’” For those that are considered securities, “marketing and/or distributing such tokens – whether in Hong Kong or targeting Hong Kong investors – constitute a ‘regulated activity’ and require a licence from the SFC unless an applicable exemption applies,” the announcement explains. Thomas Atkinson, the SFC’s Executive Director of Enforcement, commented: "Investors should be wary of the risks of trading virtual assets on an unregulated platform. If the platform ceases operation, collapses, or is hacked, investors may face the possible risk of losing their entire investments held on the platform." The SFC noted that it “has received complaints from investors who experienced difficulties in withdrawing fiat currencies or virtual assets from their accounts opened with unregulated platforms.” Besides Hong Kong, an increasing number of regulators have issued warnings about Binance, including the U.K., Japan, Italy, Thailand, Lithuania, and the Cayman Islands.
  18. Doubleline Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach, also known as the “Bond King,” has predicted that the price of bitcoin will fall below the $23K level. “Right now, the chart on bitcoin looks pretty scary,” he said, adding that “it looks like a massive head-and-shoulders top.” Jeffrey Gundlach Expects Bitcoin’s Price to Fall Below $23K Billionaire fund manager Jeff Gundlach talked about his outlook for bitcoin and the U.S. dollar in an interview with CNBC Thursday. Gundlach is the CEO of Doubleline Capital, with had over $135 billion in assets under management (AUM) as of March 31. He is sometimes referred to as the “Bond King” after he appeared on the cover of Barron’s in 2011 as “The New Bond King.” Institutional Investor named him “Money Manager of the Year” in 2013 and Bloomberg Markets named him one of “The Fifty Most Influential” in 2012, 2015, and 2016. According to Forbes, Gundlach’s net worth is currently $2.2 billion. He said: “Right now, the chart on bitcoin looks pretty scary. It’s dropped a lot from $60,000 down to around $31,500, and it looks like a massive head-and-shoulders top.” At the time of writing, the price of BTC stood at $31,616, based on data from Bitcoin.com Markets. The Doubleline CEO added: "I’m not a big believer in head-and-shoulders tops, but this one looks pretty convincing. Turning neutral at $23,000 was obviously too early, but I’ve got a feeling you’re going to be able to buy it below $23,000 again." Gundlach also commented on other investments. “Interestingly, gold is actually negative this year. Commodities are very strong. Commodities are up more than stocks this year as a basket. But gold can’t seem to get out of its own way. And obviously, the dollar being firmer lately is not positive for gold either,” he opined. Moreover, the billionaire fund manager said that “The dollar has been moderately firmer in the last several weeks, and that will continue,” elaborating: "In the near term, the dollar seems firm. In the longer term, the dollar is doomed." The Bond King believes that a significant drop in the dollar is coming in the intermediate term, citing the size of the U.S. deficit. Gundlach said in November last year that bitcoin and gold were good as hedges against inflation. Furthermore, he predicted that within 18 months, the stock market was “going to crack pretty hard,” stating, “When the next big meltdown happens, I think the U.S. is going to be the worst-performing market, actually, and that’ll have a lot to do with the dollar weakening.”
  19. Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe believes that cryptocurrencies are not big enough to pose financial stability risk. “They’re not of the size that they would cause financial stability risk, and they’re not connected deeply into the standing financial system,” said the deputy governor. Crypto Poses No Financial Stability Risk, Says Deputy Governor of Bank of England Jon Cunliffe, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, talked about cryptocurrency and whether it poses financial stability risk in an interview with CNBC Wednesday. He said: "The speculative boom in crypto is very noticeable but I don’t think it’s crossed the boundary into financial stability risk." The Bank of England’s deputy governor explained that crypto speculation was mainly limited to retail investors currently. He reiterated the British central bank’s position that people investing in cryptocurrency should be prepared to lose all their money, the viewpoint expressed on several occasions by Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England. Cunliffe described: "There are issues of investor protection here. These are highly speculative assets. But they’re not of the size that they would cause financial stability risk, and they’re not connected deeply into the standing financial system." He noted: “Were we to start to see those links develop, were we to start to see it move out of retail more into wholesale and see the financial sector more exposed, then I think you might start to think about risk in that sense.” Cunliffe noted that speculative crypto assets, like bitcoin, should be distinguished from stablecoins, emphasizing that stablecoins should be regulated. The deputy governor opined: “I think the international community needs to at least be developing standards to actually be able to distinguish but also to have regulatory standards for that sort of product.” The governor of the Bank of England previously called cryptocurrencies dangerous, predicting that they won’t last. He said in June, “There will inevitably be elements of tough love” in crypto regulation. In May, Bailey said cryptocurrencies “have no intrinsic value,” but noted that it “doesn’t mean to say people don’t put value on them, because they can have extrinsic value.” The president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, agreed with him.
  20. This week the Italian luxury fashion house founded in 1985 in Legnano by Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana has announced the firm is launching a non-fungible token (NFT) collection. Dolce & Gabbana also known as D&G will reveal the first-ever Alta Moda NFT collection called “DGGenesi.” D&G to Reveal Alta Moda-Inspired NFT Collection Well known name brands have invaded the crypto space in order to join the non-fungible token (NFT) revolution. Brands like Topps, Warner Bros., UFC, DeLorean Motor Company, Playboy, MLB, TIME, and USA Today have all entered this new industry. On July 14, the popular fashion brand and Italian luxury fashion house Dolce & Gabbana explained that it too was joining the NFT craze. D&G has a crafted a large assortment of products like clothes and perfume, but this will be the firm’s first NFT product. “Dolce & Gabbana proudly reveals DGGenesi,” D&G tweeted. “The first ever Alta Moda NFT exclusive collection in partnership with luxury marketplace unxd.com. The marketplace unxd.com explains how D&G NFT bidders can “reserve a spot in line.” D&G’s Collezione Genesi Collection Follows High Fashion NFTs by Clothia and Gucci According to a report stemming from the fashion publication Vogue, the D&G NFT collection will premiere at the August 28-30 Alta Sartoria and Alta Gioielleria shows in Italy. The term “alta moda” means “high fashion” and DGGenesi or the “Collezione Genesi” collection was inspired by this trend. Usually, Alta Moda is otherwise known as “Haute Couture,” which is basically when a fashion designer leverages hand-made fabrics with an attention to detail. In the 1880s and late 19th century, Alta Moda in Milan also meant ”fashion conscious.” D&G followed the high fashion brand Gucci when the company recently sold its NFT “Gucci Aria” using the auction house Christie’s. The Gucci brand NFT sold for $25K and proceeds from the Gucci Aria NFT will be directed toward Unicef USA. Clothia, a luxury online retailer has also recently announced an NFT collection based on high fashion dresses.
  21. Adding to the exchange platform’s existing cryptocurrency derivatives products, Bybit will now offer spot cryptocurrency trading in four pairs, with additional pairs set to be rolled out in the near future. Bybit Adds Spot Trading The recent weakness in crypto prices and transaction volumes hasn’t stopped the industry’s exchanges from competing for order flow. Despite the lull, platforms are continuing to roll out new features and products as innovation abounds. The latest to introduce new offerings is Bybit, which has opened up trading in spot pairs. The derivatives exchange, which regularly ranks in the top ten crypto derivatives exchanges by volume, has now added support for four spot trading pairs, including BTC/USDT, ETH/USDT, EOS/USDT, and XRP/USDT. Other popular pairs will also be gradually added to the platform. This complements Bybit’s existing offerings, especially derivatives trading, by offering a method for traders to hedge positions in the spot market without having to change trading venues. The latest introduction of spot trading only adds value to the crypto ecosystem, in general, in terms of added liquidity and fungibility for miners and derivatives traders. An Eye on Volumes Crypto derivatives have been a hot topic, with total derivatives transaction volumes exceeding spot market values back in June. This contrasts the first few months of the year when spot trading volumes overtook derivatives turnover. Accordingly, exchanges that formerly dealt strictly in derivatives, are adding spot offerings to bring more opportunities and utility to clients. The move by Bybit mirrors the strategy of other competing derivatives exchanges that have recently embraced spot trading, including Bitmex’s decision to add support for spot pairs back in April and Bit.com’s similar move in June. Although these exchanges haven’t cracked the top 100 exchanges in terms of spot trading volume, they are nevertheless expanding their offerings
  22. Payments giants Visa and Mastercard say they are monitoring Binance’s regulatory compliance developments as more regulators come after the global crypto exchange for operating in their countries without authorization. Visa, Mastercard Monitoring Binance’s Regulatory Troubles Visa and Mastercard have not severed ties with cryptocurrency exchange Binance despite rising regulatory scrutiny. The two payments giants have not blocked Binance and cardholders can still use Visa and Mastercard to deposit funds into their accounts at the exchange. Visa told the Financial Times Friday that it was “aware of the recent FCA statement regarding Binance,” noting that it was in “dialogue with Binance to monitor developments,” the publication conveyed. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued a warning on Binance stating that the exchange is not authorized to engage in regulated activities in the U.K. Mastercard similarly told the publication: We continue to monitor this situation, including how the exchanges fulfill their regulatory requirements. Binance also offers a Visa-branded debit card that allows its users to spend funds from their crypto wallets at retailers. The Binance card, available in many European countries, is issued by Contis, a company that provides payments services in the EU through an e-money license from Lithuania’s central bank. A number of banks in the U.K. have halted fund transfers to Binance following the warning by the FCA, including Barclays and Santander. Payment service providers Clear Junction and BCB Group have also reportedly ended relationships with Binance. The exchange has disabled sterling withdrawals through Faster Payments and euro deposits through SEPA bank transfers. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in an open letter last week that the company “has grown very quickly and we haven’t always got everything exactly right.” Claiming that his exchange has already “cleared multiple external anti-money laundering audits,” Zhao promised to take measures to improve regulatory compliance. Besides the U.K., other countries that have issued warnings on Binance include the Cayman Islands, Japan, Thailand, Italy, and Lithuania.
  23. The working group involved with the research and development of the digital yuan for the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has published a paper describing the digital currency’s progress. The PBOC initiated a task force dedicated to the creation of a digital yuan in 2014, and the recently published document is the project’s first white paper released in seven years. China’s Digital Yuan Is No Different Than Physical RMB After the creation of Bitcoin and a few years after the cryptocurrency economy started getting recognized, the PBOC was one of the first central banks to introduce the idea of creating a central bank digital currency (CBDC). China’s central bank has recently allowed the digital currency working group to publish a white paper that details the CBDC’s current progress. The white paper titled “Progress of Research & Development of E-CNY in China” notes that over the course of history, “the form of currency has evolved.” The PBOC’s digital currency working group stresses that the digital yuan often referred to as the “e-CNY” is no different than the physical form of money used by the Chinese today. “The issuance and circulation of e-CNY is identical with physical RMB, while the value of the former is transferred in a digital form,” the white paper notes. “Thirdly, e-CNY is the central bank’s liabilities to the public. Backed by sovereign credit, e-CNY has the status of legal tender.” The e-CNY white paper also comes with a number of statistics and defining characteristics that make it different from the likes of bitcoin (BTC) and stablecoins. The paper claims more than 20 million digital yuan wallets have been created thus far, and $5.4 billion or 35.5 billion yuan has been settled on the e-CNY network. In addition to the growth of wallets and the settlement seen on the CBDC network, the progress report notes that the digital yuan protocol has built-in programmability. The working group’s study alludes to the use of smart contracts and decision-based transactions. “[The] e-CNY obtains programmability from deploying smart contracts that don’t impair its monetary functions. Under the premise of security and compliance, this feature enables self-executing payments according to predefined conditions or terms agreed between two sides, so as to facilitate business model innovation.” the white paper highlights. Anonymity for Small Value and Traceable for High Value Meanwhile, the digital yuan also supports interoperability with traditional electronic payment systems. The paper further details that in addition to the 20 million digital yuan wallets, 3.5 business wallets have also been deployed. The white paper explains that the digital yuan is “non-interest accrual,” which means it is simply a substitute for the monetary supply that “carries and pays no interest.” The paper also touches upon anonymity and privacy and highlights that the network has some elements of privacy, but it also guards against illegal financial activities. “[The] e-CNY follows the principle of ‘anonymity for small value and traceable for high value,’ and attaches great importance to protecting personal information and privacy,” the white paper notes. “It aims to meet the public demand for anonymous small value payment services based on the risk features and information processing logic of [the] current electronic payment system.” The PBOC’s digital currency progress report adds: Meanwhile, it is necessary to guard against the misuse of e-CNY in illegal and criminal activities, such as tele-fraud, Internet gambling, money laundering, and tax evasion by making sure that transactions comply with AML/CFT requirements. What do you think about the e-CNY and the PBOC’s recently published white paper? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
  24. Over the last few weeks, cryptocurrency markets have fallen in value as most of these assets reached all-time price highs three months ago. Despite the price drops, 2021 has still been an explosive year for crypto gains and fiat-pegged stablecoins have grown massively as well. 53 days ago, the entire capitalization of fiat stablecoins crossed the $100 billion mark, and the stablecoin market valuation continues to grow, swelling 13% since the end of May. Stablecoin Market Valuation Grows by 13% in 30 Days, Tether Issuance Slows Stablecoins have made their mark in the crypto economy over the last five years as these fiat-pegged tokens have grown immensely during that time period. While digital currency markets have dipped in value, the use of stablecoins has remained frothy and today the market capitalization of all the stablecoins in existence is $113 billion. Of course, tether (USDT) is the largest stablecoin in terms of market valuation and the amount of transactions the stablecoin network processes daily. At the time of writing, the market capitalization of tether (USDT) is $62 billion and USDT’s overall valuation is 4.94% of the entire market valuation of all the crypto coins in existence. Top ten stablecoins by market valuation on Friday, July 16, 2021. Coingecko statistics show tether commands $43.5 billion in global swaps on Friday, but messari.io data shows “real volume” is around $12.51 billion. Either way you look at it, tether has more volume than BTC and ETH markets combined. Tether captures more than 62% of today’s BTC trades and 51.4% of ETH trades on Friday. BUSD commands 4.5% of today’s BTC trades and 7.9% of ETH swaps on Friday as well. Moreover, most of the BTC and ETH trades are swapped for tether (USDT) as BTC statistics show USDT captures 62.48% of today’s share of trades. The stablecoin BUSD, issued by Binance, captures 4.61% of bitcoin (BTC) swaps and is just under the U.S. dollar as BTC’s third-largest trading pair, according to cryptocompare.com data. Tether was growing exponentially from July 2020 up until June 2021, when issuing tethers started to slow down at $61.7 billion. At the start of June, usd coin (USDC) went from $22 billion to mid-July’s $26.5 billion market capitalization.
  25. The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program is offering a reward of up to $10 million “for information on foreign malicious cyber activity against U.S. critical infrastructure.” The department further said that “Reward payments may include payments in cryptocurrency.” The U.S. Department of State announced Thursday that its Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program is offering a reward of up to $10 million “for information leading to the identification or location of any person who, while acting at the direction or under the control of a foreign government, participates in malicious cyber activities against U.S. critical infrastructure in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).” Rewards for Justice is the State Department’s counterterrorism rewards program established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism. The bureau is administered by the Diplomatic Security Service. “RFJ’s goal is to bring international terrorists to justice and prevent acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property,” its website describes. The announcement further reveals that the Rewards for Justice program has paid more than $200 million to more than 100 people across the globe since its inception. The program “has set up a Dark Web (Tor-based) tips-reporting channel to protect the safety and security of potential sources,” the Department of State noted. The announcement adds that the Rewards for Justice is also “working with interagency partners to enable the rapid processing of information as well as the possible relocation of and payment of rewards to sources.” Moreover, the department stated: Reward payments may include payments in cryptocurrency.
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