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On-chain data shows millionaires are flocking to Bitcoin…and there isn’t enough for all

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Demand for Bitcoin increased multifold in 2020. And on-chain data shows the asset’s limited supply may be causing a rush.

The Bitcoin FOMO train

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, saw a push in demand last year amidst a bleak economic outlook, concerns of dollar inflation, weakened fiat currencies, incessant money printing, and low yields in traditional assets.

The rally even saw institutional players sit up and take notice of the asset as it broke through its previous all-time high of $19,800 to as much as $41,750 in December 2020. Some of these included multi-billion funds like Guggenheim Partners, which filed its interest in BTC with the US SEC last year.

Others took the plunge. Paul Tudor Jones, billionaire investor and principal of Tudor Investments, put almost 2% of his capital into the asset class, stating it was a “great speculation” but the “fastest horse” among all other assets in the open market.

Technology firms FOMOed in as well. Fintech service Square, owned by Bitcoin advocate and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, invested $50 million of its treasury funds into BTC, stating it was an instrument of “economic empowerment and provides a way for the world to participate in a global monetary system.”

But that didn’t eclipse business intelligence firm MicroStrategy’s chad-like Bitcoin buy. Starting in August 2020, the firm built a $1 billion position in the asset. Its biggest purchase came in December when it raised $650 million in a convertible note and used the proceeds to buy more Bitcoin.

What on-chain data says

Despite the volumes, institutional interest in Bitcoin is just getting started. On-chain analyst Willy Woo said in a tweet today that “whale spawning” season was now here, as a record number of big Bitcoin transactions showed.

Woo further mentioned:

“The world has 47m millionaires, 71% of them live in the US or EU, there’s only 14.9m BTC in circulation, and only 4.1m BTC are liquid and therefore able to be bought.”

Such a sell-side liquidity squeeze likely caused the record Bitcoin purchases in the past month, which, in turn, pushed the price of the asset to over $23,000 and beyond, Woo stated.

Meanwhile, Woo added that data showed the supply of the 4.1 million “liquid” coins (or ones that were available to sell) was steadily dropping amidst the money printing and stimulus rounds. An observation that suggested the market is currently low on sellers.

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Source: https://cryptoslate.com/on-chain-data-shows-millionaires-are-flocking-to-bitcoin-and-there-isnt-enough-for-all/

Blockchain

SEC responsible for $15 billion in damages to XRP holders: Ripple

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Weeks after the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission filed an amended complaint in its lawsuit against Ripple Labs, the latter has now filed an official response, with the same asserting that the SEC is picking virtual currency winners and losers by exempting Bitcoin and Ether from the scrutiny of similar regulations.

According to Ripple, XRP was designed to be a “better Bitcoin” and more secure because control over the XRPL is more distributed.

Ripple’s response also pointed out that the mere filing of the SEC’s complaint has caused immense harm to XRP holders, cutting the value of their holdings substantially and contributing to numerous exchanges, market makers, and other market participants ceasing trading activities involving XRP. The blockchain firm argued that in bringing a case that alleges an unregistered securities offering of just over $1.3 billion from several years ago, the SEC has already caused more than approximately $15 billion in damages to those it “purports to protect.”

The 100-page document also went on to accuse the SEC of mischaracterizing several items on the record, including the claim that Ripple’s sales of XRP constituted a “significant part” of the XRP. According to Ripple, these sales constituted less than 0.4% of the total XRP transaction volume in nearly all periods.

To conclude, Ripple equivocally denied all charges in the SEC’s amended complaint, calling the allegations “overarching.”

“We’re looking forward to learning more about the SEC’s meetings with major XRP market participants who asked for guidance but were never told that XRP transactions would be subject to federal securities laws,” Stuart Alderoty, Ripple’s General Counsel, added on Twitter.

The timing of the said development is interesting, especially since it came just a day after Ripple execs Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen filed motions to dismiss the amended complaint.


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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/sec-responsible-for-15-billion-in-damages-to-xrp-holders-ripple

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How to Protect Yourself from the Cryptojacking Threat

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Though fairly common in today’s age, for many, Cryptojacking might still be a brand-new term. What is Cryptojacking? Is this a threat for all computer and internet users? How can we prevent falling victim to Cryptojacking? And many more such questions are common. Some of the most common concerns have been addressed below.

What happens in Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is the latest, most innovative, shape of cybercrime. These jackers will use your computer to mine cryptocurrencies maliciously. This can happen on both personal and business laptops, computers, and mobile devices. Cybercriminals hack into any of these devices to install software that uses the computer/laptop/smartphone’s resources and power to mine cryptocurrencies or steal wallets of unsuspecting victims. This is a grave threat as it is hard to detect and easy to deploy and run in the background. The main idea is using another computer and device’s resources to do crypto mining work for them and whatever earnings or steals they make from the hijacked computers, they siphon it into their own digital wallets. 

Cryptojacking Methods

There are three main methods cryptojackers can opt for to maliciously mine for cryptocurrencies. Let’s skim through them so you know how to better protect yourself against them.

Browser-based Cryptojacking

This happens when the hacker uses IT infrastructure to mine and attack directly within the web browser. They create a crypto mining script that is embedded into different websites. These scripts can be embedded into out-of-date WordPress plugins or ads where they run automatically while the code gets downloaded into the user’s computer. 

File-Based Cryptojacking

File-based cryptojacking starts from downloading malware that runs an executable file. A Cryptomining script is spread through this file all around the IT infrastructure. The most common way to do so is to spread malicious emails with links or attachments that look fairly legitimate for the user to click on them. If they click, the code is executed and downloads the crypto mining script to work in the background on the user’s computer without their knowledge.

Cloud Cryptojacking

Cloud Cryptojacking is used when a hacker searches for API keys through an organization’s code and files to gain access to their cloud services. They then gather unlimited CPU resources for crypto mining and this resultantly increases account costs quite significantly. Hackers illicitly mine for currencies using this method as it helps them accelerate at a much faster rate. 

How to detect Cryptojacking?

The crypto mining scripts generated by hackers can be very tricky to detect and locate, which is why you need a highly vigilant IT team at work 24/7 for your organization’s operation. Here are some common signs that will tell you something’s wrong before it’s too late and practices that can help you detect cryptojacking, look out for these!

Overheating

Just like any other intensive task, Cryptojacking involves resource processing that can heat your computing device quickly. Overheating will shorten the lifespan of your device and damage it immensely. Moreover, overheating means the fans in your devices will run longer than they should to keep the system cool and running.

Decreased performance

One of the major signs of cryptojacking is a decrease in the performance of your laptop, PC, mobile device, or tablet. If you observe an unexplained decrease in processing speed, immediately call an IT technician and get it checked. If you’re running an organization, educate all your employees about their cybersecurity and about signs and symptoms they need to report. 

Regular Website Checks

Regularly monitor your website and all its web pages to make sure there are no changes to the files and webpages on the web server. This is a great way to prevent a Cryptojacking attack.

Monitor CPU Usage

Analyze your CPU usage regularly by using a task manager or activity monitor. An unjustified increase in the CPU usage means there’s something fishy going on. Especially for a website that has little to no media content that could drive traffic. 

Protection against Cryptojacking?

Following are some recommendations from security experts on the prevention of Cryptojacking.

Maintain good security hygiene

Establish solid security hygiene to lower the risk of Cryptojacking as all such attackers are opportunists and always on the hunt for wear, vulnerable venue. Hackers run numerous exploits on websites and get through whenever there is a patch.

Web filtering

Keep your web filtering tools up to date and make sure your users are blocked from accessing a webpage that you identified delivering Cryptojacking scripts. 

Anti-crypto mining browser extensions

To coin the cash and deploy the Cryptojacking script, crypto-miner hooks into web browsers. You can use browser extensions to block such crypto miners. Browser extensions such as No Coin, minerBlock, and Anti Miner can be used. 

Disable JavaScript and enabling Ad-Blockers

Disabling JavaScript when browsing online will protect Cryptojacking code from infecting your device. And, Ad-blockers will detect and block crypto-mining codes that are commonly placed in web ads.

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Blockchain Association meeting with key Biden staff about regulations

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U.S.-based crypto advocacy group, the Blockchain Association, is lobbying key figures in the Biden administration to advocate for more favorable regulations.

The Association’s executive director, Kristin Smith, told Fox Business the group has already met with or is in the process of scheduling meetings with high-ranking Whitehouse officials including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Deputy Secretary nominee and former BlackRock executive Wally Adeyemo, along with representatives of the Treasury Department.

Citing reported comments from Yellen about how the primary utility of cryptocurrency is “illicit financing,” Smith said the association’s key aim was to assist the Treasury chief to “understand the value of crypto networks:”

Our number one priority is helping Yellen understand crypto goes beyond the financing of criminal enterprises.”

Yellen has been criticized by the crypto sector for describing Bitcoin as “an extremely inefficient way of conduction transactions,” and speculating that BTC is not “widely used as a transaction mechanism.”

Despite her apparent hostility toward Bitcoin, Yellen has expressed openness to centralized DLT, with the secretary stating a digital dollar could offer “faster, safe, and cheaper payments” than existing fiat currency last month.

Adam Traidman, CEO of crypto wallet BRD, indicated representatives of the crypto sector are “trying to work as high up the Treasury food chain as we can,” adding:

“We’re not opposed to regulation and compliance, but we need time to spur innovation and grease the skids for adoption of crypto first.”

Traidman emphasized concerns regarding regulations for wallets and crypto-to-crypto transactions, stating: “One of our main goals is to carve out crypto to crypto transactions from most regulations. If crypto transfers have to meet wire transfer rules, that will harm the industry.”

Some in the crypto community have also expressed concern regarding Joe Biden’s nominee for chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Gary Gensler — who has previously described Ethereum’s 2014 ICO as an unregistered securities offering.

Earlier this week, Gensler told the Senate Banking Committee the SEC will work to ensure the crypto markets “are free of fraud and manipulation,” accusing off-shore exchanges of having been “rife with fraud.”

The Blockchain Association’s members include crypto heavyweights Circle, Binance.US, Grayscale, and Kraken.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-association-meeting-with-key-biden-staff-about-regulations

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