Month: April 2022

Idaho Warns of Crypto Scams Promising 80% Returns Every 24 Hours

The finance department of the U.S. state of Idaho has warned investors of a series of cryptocurrency scams promising returns as high as 80% every 24 hours with no risks to investors.

Crypto Scams Promising High Returns

The Idaho Department of Finance announced Wednesday “a series of fraudulent
cryptocurrency schemes seen recently targeting Idaho investors.” The regulator detailed:

The companies purport to provide high returns with no risks to the investor.

These fraudulent schemes are operating under the names and websites of Crypto FX Direct, Shield Investors Ltd., Quartz FX Trade, and Finvest Trading. At the time of writing, some of the schemes’ websites are already offline.

The regulator added:

These websites make outrageous, demonstrably false statements and claims such as guaranteed returns on investment as high as 65% – 80% every 24 hours.

To begin investing with these companies, investors have to purchase an investment plan using cryptocurrency, the finance department described. One of the companies, Finvest Trading, charges between $500 and $100,000 to begin trading.

“They offer profitable investments with any plan, and purport the more invested, the greater the return,” the regulator detailed, adding that the companies’ investment advisors provide investors with “phony credentials.”

At the end of the agreed trading period, investment advisors contacted the investors and notified them that they made substantial returns on their investments. However, they had to pay a fee to receive their investment returns. Investors were then advised of additional fees and penalties before they could receive payouts.

The regulator noted that these entities are neither registered to sell securities in Idaho nor have they filed with the Idaho Secretary of State to conduct business in the state.

What do you think about these crypto investment scams? Let us know in the comments section below.

Philipp Plein Expects Company Customers to Make More Crypto Payments

Renowned fashion designer – Philipp Plein – predicted that more clients will employ cryptocurrencies when purchasing the company’s products this year. He envisioned digital assets to account for between $15.8 million to $21 million of the firm’s 2022 revenue.

Crypto to Become a Key Player at Philipp Plein

One of the leading fashion companies in Europe – Philipp Plein International AG – jumped into the world of crypto last year by enabling its customers to pay for clothes, shoes, and other products in 15 digital assets. The two leading ones – Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) – were among the supported ones.

In a recent interview, the founder of the firm – Philipp Plein – revealed that such settlements accounted for around 3% of the organization’s $105 million online revenue in 2021. He believes that the figures will surge this year, envisioning up to $21 million worth of crypto payments by the end of the ongoing year.

“We saw there was a big audience within the crypto community itself, so we gained a lot of new clients,” Plein stated.

The German designer is an outspoken supporter of the asset class and a HODLer. The CEO owns 170 BTC, worth approximately $6.6 million (at current prices). Last summer, he said he believes in the future of crypto, raising hopes that it could generate further profits for his company and create more opportunities for clients.

Philipp Plein, Source: Gala

PacSun Embraced Crypto, too

Another major brand in the fashion industry to accept digital asset payments last year was PacSun. The American company partnered with BitPay to allow settlements with Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), and 5 USD-pegged stablecoins. Commenting on the move was the President of PacSun – Brieane Olson:

“With digital sales doubling since last year, we understand the continued importance of creating an exceptional online shopping experience for our customers.”

It is worth noting that the brand is designed for teens and young adults. Co-CEO Michael Relich pointed out that cryptocurrencies are especially popular among the younger generations, which justifies PacSun’s move:

“The Gen Z audience, our primary consumer, is very tech-oriented, and we dedicate a lot of our efforts towards social media and e-commerce to align with their lifestyles and resonate with them on a more personal level. Seeing their increasing desire towards cryptocurrency, it was clear that we needed to adjust and offer BitPay as another payment option.”

Featured Image Courtesy of Page Six

Ice Cube’s Big3 Professional Basketball League Sells Team to a DAO for 25 NFTs

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) have been acquiring high ticket items over the last 12 months and on April 28, the Degods DAO revealed it acquired a Big3 professional basketball team called the “Killer 3s.” The Big3 professional basketball league was founded by the American rapper Ice Cube and Big3 decided to sell the rights tied to the team by leveraging non-fungible token (NFT) assets.

Big3 Team the Killer 3s Sold for 25 NFTs

According to reports, a decentralized autonomous organization built on the Solana network called Degods DAO has purchased a Big3 professional basketball team. Big3 is a basketball league crafted by the hip-hop mogul and actor Ice Cube and the league’s games are based on a 3-on-3 basketball tournament style. Recently, the Big3 decided to sell the rights to a team called the “Killer 3s” by using NFT technology.

The DeDAO has acquired a professional basketball team. pic.twitter.com/TgcwKy9tLU

— DeGods (33.3%) (@DeGodsNFT) April 28, 2022

Essentially, the Big3 league decided to sell 25 Fire-tier NFTs for $25K per unit. The NFTs give the owners rights to Killer 3s’ licensing, intellectual property (IP), and league-approved merchandise. Degods DAO acquired the Killer 3s team for approximately $625,000 by purchasing all 25 NFTs tied to the Killer 3s. Degods DAO tweeted about the acquisition on April 28 and shared a video that said: “Now let’s win a f***ing championship.”

Decentralized Autonomous Organizations Continue to Bid on High Ticket Items

Degods DAO follows a number of DAOs buying high ticket items like properties, franchises, NFT collections, and IP rights. For instance, a DAO purchased an unreleased Wu-Tang Clan record called “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” Another DAO recently revealed it wanted to purchase fast-food restaurants and a DAO called “Buy the Broncos DAO” tried to raise $4 billion to buy the Denver Broncos. Many attempted purchases have failed, like the Constitution DAO, which tried to buy an old copy of the U.S. Constitution but lost the auction.

Degods is a popular Solana NFT project that has seen 397,300 SOL or $37,234,956 worth of NFT sales volume. The collection has 4.5K owners and the current floor price is $28,162 or 300.5 SOL. “A deflationary collection of degenerates, punks, and misfits. Gods of the metaverse [and] masters of our own universe. Powered by the Solana Blockchain,” Degods’ description on Opensea explains.

What do you think about a DAO buying a Big3 professional basketball team by acquiring 25 NFTs? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Bill Regulating Crypto Mining Submitted to Russian Parliament

A draft law tailored to regulate cryptocurrency mining has been filed with the lower house of Russian parliament, the State Duma. The legislation provides a legal definition for the extraction of digital currencies and envisages the establishment of a register for miners.

Russian Lawmakers to Review Legislation Enforcing Rules for Crypto Mining Sector

The draft of the new federal law “On Mining in Russian Federation” has been submitted to the Duma on Friday, April 29, according to the website of the house. The bill aims to bring the crypto-related industry out of the “grey” economy in Russia, a country rich in energy resources and favorable climatic conditions for mining.

The authors of the bill describe the minting of digital coins as an activity using information infrastructure and equipment located in the Russian Federation, which results in the creation of digital currency. They also introduce legal definitions for the circulation of digital currencies, mining pools and operators mining facilities.

The law provides for the creation of a special register for cryptocurrency miners that will be maintained by an authorized federal body. Private individuals involved in bitcoin mining will be able to register as individual entrepreneurs or self-employed persons if their electricity consumption exceeds certain limits set by the government.

Only registered entities and persons will be allowed to mine, RBC Crypto reported, quoting the document. The operators of mining facilities in Russia will be required to keep records of the minted cryptocurrencies, their types, any contracts with other entities and buyers of the coins, exchange operators, payment systems, and banks.

If deputies in the Duma adopt the law, a one-year “amnesty” will be announced for registered miners, within which they will be able to sort out any outstanding issues with customs clearance for imported hardware, pay relevant taxes and comply with applicable regulations. That includes the recently adopted rules for money transfers outside the Russian Federation.

Russian authorities have been working to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. A bill “On Digital Currency” has been prepared by the Finance Ministry to fill the legal gaps remaining after the enforcement of the law “On Digital Financial Assets” last year. The department recently revised the draft to clarify certain aspects pertaining to crypto mining. The Russian parliament is expected to approve this law, along with tax amendments, during its spring session.

Do you think the Russian parliament will adopt the mining law together with the other crypto legislation? Tell us in the comments section below.

Slovenia Ranks as the World’s Most Crypto-Friendly Nation (Study)

A research conducted by the aviation company Fast Private Jet estimated that the central European country – Slovenia – is the world’s most crypto-friendly state. Moreover, its capital – Ljubljana – is the most welcoming destination in Europe for digital asset businesses.

Central Europe Leads the Way

The Italy-based aviation firm – Fast Private Jet – performed a global study to determine which countries have the most venues where cryptocurrencies are accepted as a payment method. Slovenia ranked first, while another Central European nation – the Czech Republic – held the second position. Argentina, Japan, Spain, and Colombia rounded up the top 6.

Slovenia has 72 shops and 33 sports venues that accept bitcoin or altcoins as a means of payment. Its capital city – Ljubljana – is also the most crypto-friendly destination in Europe. Currently, it has over 137 businesses and 584 different locations that allow digital asset payments, while its largest shopping center is named “BTC City.”

Prague – The Czech Republic’s capital – is the second most crypto-friendly European destination. Among its crypto attractions is the coffee-house Paralelni Polis, where customers can pay only in bitcoin.

The third most crypto-welcoming city in Europe is Spain’s Madrid, while Malta ranked at the bottom of that statistics.

Fast Private Jet’s study touched upon the USA, too. It revealed that New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have the most restaurants, cafeterias, and businesses that accept crypto as a payment method.

Unsurprisingly, China is among the least crypto-friendly countries around the globe. Last year, the local authorities imposed a total ban on all digital asset endeavors on Chinese soil.

Oman, Egypt, Algeria, Qatar, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, and Bangladesh also have a hostile stance on the industry and were placed next to China.

Earlier this month, a Coincub research estimated that Germany is the most crypto-friendly nation for Q1, 2022, while Singapore and the USA are respectively second and third. However, the company’s study differed from Fast Private Jet’s one as it considered factors like cryptocurrency laws in the different countries, the number of fraud cases, and the availability of digital asset courses.

Slovenia Is Among the Most ‘Crypto-Ready’ Countries

This is not the first time the Central European nation has found its place in similar studies. Last year, the digital asset platform – Crypto Head – determined that Slovenia, with an index of 5.96, is the 7th most “crypto-ready” country.

To perform the research, the company combined several factors, including annual crypto Google searches per 100,000 people and the number of ATMs.

Considering the USA has over 30,000 crypto Automated Teller Machines, it was no wonder that it held the first position. Interestingly, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus ranked second.

Bitcoin Struggles To Hold $40K While Crypto Track US Stocks

Crypto is mirroring stock markets’ gains again today, with Wall Street’s sharp climb after opening higher likely to provide further impetus for Bitcoin. Last Friday, the crypto market saw a significant decline correlating US Indexes. 

Bitcoin and Ethereum, the major players in the crypto market, gained 2% in the past 24 hours. Both crypto combined capitalization reached nearly $1.2 trillion today, with total crypto market capital at $1.9 trillion. 

Related Reading | Ethereum Trades Below $3,000 Support, Why Is ETH Falling Since November?

The crypto markets see a broad recovery as equities continue their upward trajectory. The BTC/USD pair is trading above $40,000 while ETH/USD has gained ground close to the $3,000 resistance level. Both coins are gaining amid this positive trend for all assets.

The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq Composite have all gone up today. The S&P 500 is up 2.3%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is higher by 1.7%, and the Nasdaq Composite leads the upside with 2.8%. This happened as Asian and European stocks had good days before the US Federal Reserve’s 0.5% interest rate hike.

Bitcoin And Ethereum Still Look Bullish

The bitcoin price is holding well above $38,000, but it’s close to touching another key supply wall at $40,000. However, this could signify that the bulls still have some strength and may push higher soon.

After testing $39,926 Bitcoin is currently trading in red below $39,000 | Source: BTC/USD Chart from Tradingview.com

As per Altcoin Sherpa, a crypto trader and analyst, “the market structure looks bullish.” He further added;

As long as these lows are maintained and we still see higher lows, I think the bullish market structure is still intact. Still thinking 55k+ in the coming weeks.

While commenting on Ethereum prediction, Altcoin Sherpa said;

Unlike $BTC, ETH is still decently above its last lows and still has a bullish market structure (btc does too but its closer). Would like to see a higher low formed for #Ethereum. I think that it’s still at the mercy of BTC though, as always – if BTC tanks, so will ETH. 

Related Reading | TA: Bitcoin Key Indicators Suggest Strengthening Case For Decent Increase

“Bitcoin could go higher,” said Rekt Capital, one of the top crypto analysts. The analyst said;

Bullish Divergence on the 4-hourly is playing out. Key resistance in the very short-term will be this red area [above $40,300]. Turning it into support like in the previous yellow circle would be a bullish sign for trend continuation.

Bitcoin has been below its 100-day moving average for a few weeks. The price has been supported by $37,000 and the falling trendline. This has lessened the bearish momentum. The $37,000 mark has become an important support for Bitcoin. If it falls below that, the price might go down to $30,000.

 

Featured image from Pixabay and chart from Tradingview.com

 

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The Number of Entities Using Bitcoin to Store Arbitrary Data Has Declined

Three years ago there were a lot of discussions concerning data embedded in bitcoin transactions and the block size space consumed by these OP_Return transactions. However, in recent times, the use of OP_Return transactions has dropped a great deal and the trend has lowered network fees to some degree.

OP_Return Transaction Domination Slows Significantly Alleviating Bitcoin Network Fees

Bitcoin transfer fees have dropped quite a bit over the last nine months since July 1, 2021. At that time, the average transaction fee to send bitcoin (BTC) was above $10 per transaction. Statistics show that at the end of April 2022, the average fee to send BTC is 0.000042 BTC or $1.62 per transfer. This month a report published by the lead at Galaxy Digital Research, Alex Thorn, explains there are a number of reasons why onchain transactions have been cheaper.

Thorn’s report explains there are a number of reasons why fees are lower including the use of transaction batching, increased Segregated Witness (Segwit) adoption, and Lightning Network usage. Another trend Thorn’s report covers is the fact that OP_Return transactions have declined. The researcher notes how after 2018, following the launch of Veriblock, the use of storing arbitrary data on the Bitcoin blockchain spiked.

In recent times, however, OP_Return transactions stemming from the likes of Veriblock and Tether via Omni are down. The Galaxy Digital Research study explains how most tethers have moved off the Omni Layer network that uses OP_Return transactions to alternative chains. While Thorn’s report briefly mentioned the spike in OP_Returns after Veriblock it doesn’t mention how controversial storing arbitrary data on the Bitcoin blockchain was at the time.

Essentially, an OP_Return is used to mark a transaction output and users can mark roughly 80 bytes of null_data to the Bitcoin blockchain in a given transaction. By using Bitcoin’s script and null_data, a great number of entities have used it to write messages on the blockchain and record important data. At the end of 2013 and into 2014, OP_Return use started to become more popular and controversial. Still, before 2017, research shows that OP_Return transactions only accounted for less than 2% of transactions.

Current daily data shows that OP_Returns have dropped in recent times and it is very different than when Veriblock captured 57% of Bitcoin’s OP_Return outputs in 2019. Bitcoin proponents were very concerned at the time about people and organizations storing arbitrary data on the Bitcoin blockchain. One paper published on December 11, 2020, discusses “dominating” OP_Return outputs in a paper called “The Impact of Omni and Veriblock on Bitcoin.”

Besides Veriblock, between 2018 and December 2019, the top publishers of OP_Return transactions stemmed from Omni/Tether, Factom, Komodo, Blockstore, po.et, Chainx, and RSK. Nowadays, while many of these projects still exist, they are not producing as many OP_Return transactions as they were in the past. Of course, there’s a chance the use of OP_Return outputs dominating BTC transactions could happen again. While reports like Thorn’s study and current data show OP_Return transactions have lowered, there’s no clear explanation for why this has happened.

What do you think about the decline in Bitcoin OP_Return transactions in recent times? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Binance Controlled 30% of Crypto Spot Volume in March: Report

According to a recent report from global crypto market real-time data provider CryptoCompare, the total spot market rose by 10.5% in March, with transaction volumes reaching $1.6 trillion.

The document further revealed that approximately 69.9% of the total volume was accumulated by 15 of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, including Binance, Coinbase, Bitfinex, OKX, Huobi, FTX, and Kraken.

Binance Dominates the Crypto Spot Market

Binance alone captured 30.2% of the total spot market volumes, processing about $490 billion in spot transactions, a 15% increase from February volumes. While this figure is marginally below the exchange’s record market share of 33.7% in November 2021, Binance still managed to dominate the crypto spot market.

Crypto Spot Trading Volume. Source: CryptoCompare

 

Binance was closely followed by Coinbase and OKX, accumulating a spot market share of 5% and 4.7%, respectively. Coinbase handled $81.9 billion worth of spot transactions, down 12% from its value the month prior, and OKX with $75.9 billion, down by 26%.

King of Crypto Derivatives

After six consecutive months of decreased volumes, the derivatives market witnessed increased activity, and its volumes saw a major spike in March.

According to the CryptoCompare report, derivatives volumes rose by 4.58% to $2.74 trillion, accounting for 62.8% of the total centralized exchange volumes, while spot volumes accounted for the remaining 37.2%.

Despite being impressive for the six months of decreased activity, the March derivatives market volumes are still significantly lower than the all-time highs (ATH) reached in May 2021. Derivatives volumes reached a whopping $9.99 trillion during the May 2021 bull market, attaining a market share of 68%.

CoinCompare noted that the derivatives market is recording larger transaction volumes than spot because investors are cautious of the risks associated with spot trading.

“Market participants remain cautious and continue to get crypto exposure through derivatives to hedge and speculate against spot markets.”

Crypto derivatives are secondary contracts that mimic the price of their underlying assets. Most investors prefer to take derivatives contracts since it allows them to diversify their exposure to different cryptocurrencies and safeguard them from extreme price volatility.

Crypto Derivatives Trading Volume. Source: CryptoCompare

 

Per the report, Binance emerged as the largest derivatives exchange in March, leading the market with about 52% of total derivatives volumes. The exchange handled over $1.4 trillion in derivatives transactions in March, an increase of 8.3% from its February volume.

It was also closely followed by OKX with $446 billion volume (up 12.5%), Bybit with $380 (down 8.8%), and FTX with $295 billion (up 2.07%).

Attackers Steal $80 Million From Rari Capital’s Fuse Platform, Fei Protocol Suffers From Exploit

According to a report from the blockchain company Blocsec, Rari Capital’s Fuse platform has lost roughly $80 million from a “reentrancy vulnerability.” On Saturday, Fei Protocol’s official Twitter account confirmed it lost funds from the Rari Fuse platform exploit.

$80 Million Swiped from Rari Capital

Another decentralized finance (defi) protocol attacker has managed to siphon millions of dollars worth of crypto from a defi project. On Saturday, the blockchain and smart contract audit firm Blocsec revealed Rari Capital’s Fuse platform suffered a loss of $80 million.
“Our monitoring system detected that multiple pools related to [Rari Capital] and [Fei Protocol] were attacked, and lost more than 80M US dollars,” Blocsec tweeted. “The root cause is due to a typical reentrancy vulnerability.” Blocsec also shared a picture of the exploit and said: “One picture worth a thousand words.”
This is not the first time Rari Capital has been attacked. The project revealed on May 8, 2021, that $11 million worth of ethereum was stolen. “These funds were extracted from Rari Capital’s Ethereum Pool before the attacker was stopped when the contracts were paused,” Rari said at the time. “This loss equates to 60% of all users’ funds in the Rari Capital Ethereum Pool.”
The attack on Saturday was also confirmed by Fei Protocol’s official Twitter account. Fei Protocol also offered the attacker a bounty to return the stolen funds.
“We are aware of an exploit on various Rari Fuse pools. We have identified the root cause and paused all borrowing to mitigate further damage,” Fei Protocol tweeted on April 30. “To the exploiter, please accept a $10m bounty and no questions asked if you return the remaining user funds.”
Of course, the defi project received a number of jabs and criticisms from the crypto community. A recently published report indicates out of the $1.3 billion in stolen cryptocurrencies during the first quarter of 2022, 97% of the stolen funds stemmed from defi exploits.

What do you think about Rari Capital’s Fuse platform losing $80 million in funds? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Brazilian Senate Approves Cryptocurrency Law Project

The Brazilian Senate has approved a recently presented cryptocurrency policy, advancing the project to discussions in the deputy chamber. The proposal will have to be greenlighted by the deputies of Congress and signed by President Jair Bolsonaro to be approved as law. The project presented is the result of the fusion of several law projects dealing with crypto.

Brazilian Senate Greenlights Crypto Law Project

The Brazilian Senate has greenlighted a cryptocurrency law project that seeks to give more clarity and protect users from different cryptocurrency-related scams that have happened in the country. The project will now advance to the Chamber of Deputies, which will be responsible for debating and approving or rejecting this new project.

The project was elaborated by choosing different projects that were presented earlier by taking some parts from one, and some from another. Senator Flávio Arns, senator Styvenson Valentim, senator Soraya Thronicke, and federal deputy Aureo Ribeiro all contributed to the final text. This was announced by local media before, which informed the institution was taking steps to achieve the approval of a cryptocurrency law before the end of Q2.

While discussing the law project, rapporteur Iraja Abreu stated:

We advanced the discussions of the report so that we could here today finally vote on this matter of regulation of crypto assets… The central bank was constantly demanding Congress to position ourselves in relation to a regulatory framework that could understand the dimension of this new business environment.

Law Project Dispositions

The cryptocurrency law project approved by the Brazilian senate establishes the concept of cryptocurrencies and virtual asset service providers (VASPs), but leaves the faculty of naming the institution destined to oversee them to the Executive branch of the government. In earlier iterations of this project, this faculty was assigned to the Central Bank of Brasil. The executive branch of the government will be able to assign these tasks to an existing organization or create one just for this.

The subject of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) was left outside the scope of the regulation, with the regulation of these tools being left to another law project due to their special traits. However, the document does amend the penal code of the country to include a new crime, denominated “fraud in the provision of services of virtual assets, securities, or financial assets,” with penalties going from imprisonment from two to six years plus fines.

The document also proposes tax benefits for cryptocurrency mining operations that use 100% renewable energies and become carbon neutral.

What do you think about the approval of the cryptocurrency law by the Brazilian senate? Tell us in the comments section below.