Investors have been waiting on the sidelines with the impeachment developments of President Donald Trump as well as on the hope of the next stimulus package announcement by upcoming President Joe Biden.
On Wednesday, January 13, the S&P 500 – the benchmark index of Wall Street – closed slightly higher as tech giant Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) provided a major boost. The defensive sectors like utilities and real estate were leading gains as investors waited on the sidelines for another round of fiscal stimulus. The Wall Street indices, including DJIA, remain flat. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP: .INX) ended Wednesday’s session 0.23% up at 3809.84. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX: .DJI) was marginally down 0.03% ending the session at 31,060.47. On the other hand, the Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ: .IXIC) was marginally up 0.4% ending the session at 13,128.95.
On the other hand, the US Treasury yields fall after six consecutive sessions of the surge. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC was the biggest percentage gainer in the S&P 500 jumping nearly 7%. The stock rallied after the news came that the VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger will replace Intel’s outgoing CEO, Bob Swan.
After last week’s record rally in the markets, the indexes have been moving at the sidelines. Wall Street is holding up to the expectations of a hefty COVID-19 package from the upcoming Biden Administration. Mona Mahajan, U.S. investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors, New York, said:
“Investors have been for some time looking to the second half of 2021. They continue to hope for a real reopening. A day like today is probably natural after a long run. Some of the laggard (stock sectors) are leading,” referring to the U.S. Treasury decline.
After the Capitol invasion last week by Trump supporters, the US House of Representatives gathered to consider a second impeachment for the President.
Wall Street Indices Remain on One Level as Investors Are on the Wait & Watch Mode
Investors have been waiting to see whether the impeachment process would delay any stimulus to other promised agenda by President-elect Joe Biden. Shawn Cruz, senior market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Jersey City, New Jersey said:
“The headlines coming in are causing some near term jitters but it looks like investors are looking past that to the rest of the year. Investors are in wait-and-see mode for now … if you’re moving to the sidelines you probably might want to be moving out of cyclicals.”
However, the surge in the COVID-19 still keeps a dark cloud hovering around the employment data.
Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair in understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In free time he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explore his culinary skills.
Step by step: How crypto fraud and security breaches are investigated
It’s every exchange’s worst nightmare: Falling victim to a security breach. An incident can disrupt a trading platform’s operations for weeks, affect customer confidence and damage a carefully cultivated reputation — even causing crypto markets to fall in some cases.
Crypto companies have been ramping up their security measures in recent years, determined to ensure that malicious actors don’t get an opportunity to infiltrate their systems. This has prompted hackers, scammers and fraudsters to rely on more sophisticated techniques.
One crucial weapon has emerged that helps trading platforms take speedy action in the event that their infrastructure is compromised: Analytics software. But how do these companies go about their investigations whenever a breach is reported? What are the tools that can be relied upon to follow a thief’s tracks?
This is a step-by-step guide to investigating crypto fraud, security breaches and ransomware.
Hunting the hackers
Irrespective of whether cryptocurrencies are stolen through fraudulent activities or scams — with ransomware becoming an increasingly popular method for swindling victims — investigation techniques often follow a similar pattern.
The first step is to identify a criminal’s crypto address as soon as possible. This information can then be passed on to analytics software companies, which can immediately tag the address as high risk. Doing this quickly can ensure that the entity is easier to track. There can be times when there’s little information about an address hash, but this doesn’t mean that there’s a dead end. That’s because transaction and date filtering can be used instead.
Next, it’s a race against time to start tracking bad actors who may begin to obfuscate the funds that they have misappropriated. They may start sending transactions to other exchanges or use mixing services and darknet entities. Although this commonly happens immediately after crypto has been taken, it can sometimes take months or years for obfuscation to commence — when a criminal may think no one is looking. Analytics providers can offer transaction alerts to ensure that victims can be immediately notified when funds flow to or from an address.
These transaction alerts need to be acted upon as a matter of urgency, as work begins to follow the trail. A crucial step involves notifying exchanges that might end up receiving some of this crypto to ensure they are able to block stolen funds that flow into their accounts. Visualization tools can play a role in illustrating how misappropriated assets are distributed — and show the addresses that may be directly or indirectly connected to the criminal.
An investigation in action
Crystal Blockchain has shared an example of how investigations work in practice. The analytics software provider recently played an instrumental role in examining the aftermath of a hot wallet security breach that affected Eterbase in September 2020, which Cointelegraph reported on at the time.
Immediately after the theft took place, Eterbase sprang to action by publicly announcing the address that was used by the Bitcoin thief. This enabled Crystal to immediately tag this wallet as a high-risk entity.
Quickly, it became possible to piece together information about this address — including statistics on further transactions and connections. It soon emerged that this suspicious wallet had connections to 16 other addresses.
Through Crystal’s All Connections tool, it was revealed that this address had indeed received funds from Eterbase, as well as other exchanges, which had been sent on to a plethora of unnamed entities.
The company said it was able to look further than a one-hop distance — and include indirect connections in its results. From here, it was established that 80% of the total funds that were stolen had been sent to a mixing service.
Eterbase went live once again on Jan. 15 — with its team asking exchange users to stop using old crypto deposit addresses that belonged to their accounts. In an update at the end of January, the company said that an official investigation is still ongoing — and it stressed that affected users who are eligible for a refund will receive one as soon as possible.
Crystal Blockchain says crypto crime is growing in parallel with the crypto markets. The company recently released a map of security breaches and fraud within the digital assets sector over the past 10 years.
The interactive timeline tracks the number of incidents in every year since 2011, and also provides a total figure for the funds that were stolen. Its data suggests that $1.48 billion was taken across 28 incidents in 2020.
Users who visit this article can also use a spinning globe to find out the total volume of funds that have been stolen in countries around the world — with the hardest-hit nations colored in the darkest shade of red.
According to Crystal, the most common locations for exchange breaches include the U.S., the U.K., South Korea, Japan and China. The largest-ever crypto security breach remains the incident involving the Japanese exchange Coincheck in 2018, overtaking the Mt. Gox incident back in 2014.
Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.
US crypto tax startup TaxBit to channel $100M raise into UK expansion
Major cryptocurrency tax compliance startup TaxBit has raised $100 million as it expands into Europe.
According to a March 3 blog post, TaxBit has secured the funds in Series A round led by Paradigm and Tiger Capital. Additional investors included PayPal’s venture arm, major industry firms like Coinbase and Winklevoss Capital, as well as individual investors like Bill Ackman, Ryan Smith, Anthony Pompliano and others.
According to the announcement, the new investment round comes in response to the increasing global demand for crypto services amid the crypto industry’s parabolic surge to hit a $1.5 trillion market capitalization. “The importance of TaxBit’s tailored tax and accounting software is readily apparent,” TaxBit’s vice president of marketing, Michelle O’Connor, said in the blog post.
With newly raised funds, TaxBit is planning to start to expand internationally in 2021. TaxBit CEO Austin Woodward told Forbes the company wants to tap the United Kingdom market as its first destination. The company is also expecting to launch an enterprise resource planning solution in compliance with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission later this year.
Launched in 2018, TaxBit’s platform is designed to automate aspects of crypto tax compliance for enterprises, consumers and governments. Developed by a group of CPAs, tax attorneys and software developers, the solution enables users to track the tax impact on their trades on crypto exchanges.
TaxBit’s raise comes as the U.S. Internal Revenue Service updates its crypto reporting rules to clarify that investors who purchased crypto with fiat currency do not need to report their transactions under the “virtual currency” question.
Bitcoin is technology but gold ‘is dead,’ Mark Cuban tells Peter Schiff
In a Twitter debate on Mar. 2, Cuban, who has become increasingly sympathetic to crypto, warned Peter Schiff that gold “will die” as a store of value (SOV).
Cuban to Schiff: “Gold is dead, move on”
Schiff, a gold bug who has long made a name for himself as a firm Bitcoin skeptic, continues to tweet disparaging comments about the phenomenon despite BTC/USD regularly hitting new all-time highs.
Responding to remarks about Wall Street firms being “dumb” by buying it, Cuban offered a dose of surprisingly pro-Bitcoin medicine.
“Let me help Peter. Gold is hyped as much as Crypto. Do we really need gold jewelry? Gold can make you a ring,” one tweet reads.
“BTC/Eth are technologies that can make you a banker, allow friction free exchange of value and are extensible into an unlimited range of biz and personal applications.”
Continuing, he gave a stark verdict on the future of gold.
“What we are seeing built w/crypto today is just proof of concept. As tech continues to get better/cheaper/faster there will be new applications and maybe even something that supersedes what we know as crypto today,” a further post says.
“But Gold won’t ever change. Which is why it will die as a SOV.”
Cuban had formally given little time to Bitcoin or cryptocurrency technology more broadly, sparking a concerted effort among proponents to persuade him to reconsider. In January, he revealed that he still had holdings from years ago which he had “never sold.”
“Don’t forget, Gold was a SOV built on technology. From picks and shovels to mining operations that keep trying to improve. Whoever could use the tech of the day to find and mine the most efficiently was the most rewarded. Much like Crypto is today,” a final message to Schiff concludes.
Gold is dead Peter. Move on.”
Schiff had little to counteract his words, calling cryptocurrency a “malinvestment” and arguing that gold could back digital currency in future.
If you can’t beat ’em, trade ’em
Meanwhile, Schiff’s years of scorn have found a new, more productive purpose.
As many joke that his Twitter posts serve as an indication of Bitcoin price bottoms, one trader revealed a homemade trading tool that has spent a year performing transactions based solely on Schiff’s social media activity.
“Since May, the algorithm would have executed 203 trades, achieving an annualized return of ~1000%,” Sam Baker, a student at Boston College said, uploading a sample of its profits.
“65% of trades are profitable with a 3% average return.”
“I guess that’s as good a reason as any to buy Bitcoin. Good luck,” Schiff replied.
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