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$500K Bitcoin Donation Funneled to Groups Involved in US Capitol Riot: Analysis

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Blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis has tracked simultaneous Bitcoin (BTC) donations to wallets associated with right-wing extremist groups in the U.S., which might have helped fund the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol. The news marks yet another pivot towards pseudonymous money transfer means by alt-right groups in the U.S.

Alt-Right Agitators Received $500K in Bitcoin Prior to US Capitol Riot

Publishing its findings on Thursday (Jan. 14, 2021), Chainalysis revealed that several notable alt-right personalities who were present at the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol received substantial Bitcoin donations.

According to Chainalysis, a single donor funneled 18.15 BTC to addresses belonging to entities with right-leaning affiliations on Dec. 8, 2020. At the time, this figure was worth over $500,000.

In its report, Chainalysis also revealed that popular far-right political commentator Nick Fuentes received 13.5 BTC. There are a few photographic pieces of evidence placing Fuentes at the riot with a megaphone in hand though Fuentes has denied entering the building itself.

Apart from him, alt-right podcaster Ethan Ralph and VDARE — an anti-immigration organization — also received BTC sums from the donor. While Chainalysis did not reveal the identity of the person responsible for funneling the Bitcoin, the crypto forensics outfit did mention that there strong evidence that the donor is a French computer programmer.

An examination into the donor’s wallet shows that the person is likely an early Bitcoin adopter. Further investigation into the donor shows a history of donations to extremist causes with an alleged suicide note referencing known alt-right talking points.

Based on these findings, U.S. law enforcement officials are reportedly investigating possible links between the donations and the assault on the Capitol. Prosecutors also say that they are approaching the investigations from a counterterrorism and counterintelligence standpoint.

Financial Censorship Triggering Crypto Adoption

Alt-right groups receiving donations in Bitcoin is only the latest example of political and social groups with dissident ideologies embracing cryptocurrencies. Indeed, Bitcoin’s early history is somewhat intertwined with WikiLeaks especially after the establishment was cut off from mainstream funding sources.

Even countries facing economic sanctions are also adopting cryptocurrencies. Venezuela is a popular example, with the Maduro administration even creating its own oil-backed Petro “coin.”

Nations like Iran are actively supporting Bitcoin mining with tax breaks for BTC miners. As previously reported by CryptoPotato, the output from three power plants has been offered to miners in the country.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/500k-bitcoin-donation-funneled-to-groups-involved-in-us-capitol-riot-analysis/

Blockchain

Blockchain and crypto will challenge current finance, Nigeria VP says

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Nigeria’s vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, delivered a speech at an economic summit on Friday in which he spoke positively of crypto and blockchain. 

“There is no question that blockchain technology generally, and cryptocurrencies in particular, will in the coming years, challenge traditional banking, including reserve banking, in ways that we cannot yet imagine,” Osinbajo said on Friday during the Central Bank of Nigeria, or CBN, Bankers’ Committee Economic Summit. “We need to be prepared for that seismic shift, and it may come sooner than later,” he said.

The Nigerian vice president also noted the broadness of the crypto industry, mentioning decentralized finance, or DeFi, in the mix. “Decentralized finance, using smart contracts to create financial instruments, in place of central financial intermediaries, such as banks or brokerages, is set to challenge traditional finance,” he said. 

Osinbajo’s speech, which included a number of other points, is posted on his YouTube channel. The Nigerian vice president also tweeted out a video clip highlighting of some of his crypto comments from his talk.

“The point I’m making, is that some of the exciting developments we see call for prudence and care in adopting them and these have been very well-articulated by our regulatory authorities,” he said, adding:

“But we must act with knowledge and not with fear. We must ensure that we are in a position to benefit and in a position to prevent any of the adverse side effects, or any of the possible, even criminal, acts that may arise in consequence of adopting or taking any of these options.”

The comments come in contrast to recent developments in Nigeria. Earlier in February, Nigeria forbade banking interactions with crypto exchanges, as per a ruling from its central bank. The CBN’s governor also called crypto assets illegitimate. Bitcoin recently traded at a significant premium in the region.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-and-crypto-will-challenge-current-finance-nigeria-vp-says

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‘Bitcoin could reach $1 million or $1, and may do both of those’

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While many analysts predict that either Bitcoin could increase to a million or fall to a dollar, a popular businessman and investor based in the US thinks that the asset could do both!

In a recent interview with Joe Kernen at CNBC’s Squawk Box, Internet analyst Henry Blodget of the dot com era fame said: 

Bitcoin could go to $1 million… it could also go to $1. And in fact it may do both of those

In addition, Blodget, who also served as the head of the global Internet research team at Merrill Lynch, is unconvinced about the asset’s value proposition. He claimed that Bitcoin as an inflationary hedge and the narrative surrounding its value as ‘digital gold’ were “stories”. He further added: 

But the stories that we tell about why relative to the value of gold or other currencies, they’re ludicrous.

In his opinion, Bitcoin can trade just about anywhere because it does not have any fundamental backing. He said that unlike traditional stocks, “which usually does have some relationship ultimately to a fundamental,” of a company, “Bitcoin doesn’t, so that means it can trade anywhere.”

The entrepreneur thinks that crypto exchange Gemini’s CEO Tyler Winklevoss could eventually be “exactly right,” in his forecast that the asset could surge to a million. However, Blodget said:

If people were to decide that for the next couple of hundred years Bitcoin is where you park your money when you take it out of the fiat system, OK, it’s possible.

Interestingly, while crypto Twitter and Bitcoin enthusiasts, in particular, called out the analyst’s criticism, they commended the interviewer’s counter-argument. CNBC’s Joe Kernen seemed to even “speak the language” of the crypto space as one twitter user named @HodlBells noted:  


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoin-could-reach-1-million-or-1-and-may-do-both-of-those

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Crypto platform NetCents to offer users access to DeFi protocols thru Vesto

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NetCents, a cryptocurrency payments company, today announced it has signed an agreement with Vesto.io to pave the way for DeFi access in the NetCents platform.

Vesto, is a San Francisco-based company that has created a platform allowing users to choose from multiple DeFi protocols in a virtual supermarket. NetCents (with regulatory approval) intends on enabling a portal to the Vesto infrastructure from the NetCents wallet in order to facilitate user’s adoption of DeFi investing in an efficient and easy-to-understand interface.

“We have seen the DeFi space explode over the past year, but for it to reach the next level – the tools and the process has to be attainable by the novice crypto investor. We will be adding a layer of simplification to the process so that individuals can have their savings actually working for them without the complexity of the current platforms. Individuals have the right to lend their money at market-based rates instead of getting 1% interest on their savings that the commercial banks are offering.”
– Clayton Moore, NetCents Founder & CEO

LOI

The Letter of Intent  (LOI) contemplates a Joint Venture between parties and an option for NetCents to invest in Vesto and hold a significant ownership stake in the company at a future date.

Management of NetCents also informed investors that many of the concepts embraced by these DeFi platforms have not been vetted by the many authorities that regulate financial products. NetCents intends to work together with regulators to navigate this landscape and resolve it with a compliant product.

For Example: Fintech businesses seeking to bring a novel product or service to the market can seek regulatory relief through regulatory sandboxes such as the Ontario Securities Commission’s LaunchPad or the British Columbia Securities Commission’s SandBox.

Furthermore, businesses that distribute, trade, or advise in crypto assets that are securities are required to comply with securities laws (in particular, registration and prospectus requirements), which can be onerous. There are many exemptions for specific types of distributions, trades, and other activities and NetCents intends to research these exemptions rigorously. These exemptions, at a high level, may limit the types of investors that can participate or the investment amounts, or may require the preparation of disclosures to investors and filing of a disclosure document.

Source: https://www.cryptoninjas.net/2021/02/27/crypto-platform-netcents-to-offer-users-access-to-defi-protocols-thru-vesto/

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