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US Treasury Sanctions Russians Using Crypto for Election Interference

The U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control has added three Russian nationals and a host of cryptocurrency addresses to its sanctions list.

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The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has added three Russian nationals and a host of cryptocurrency addresses to its sanctions list on allegations of election interference.

OFAC alleges that the three individuals, Artem Lifshits, Anton Andreyev and Darya Aslanova, are employees of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian company and “troll farm” that tries to influence events. The IRA attempted to influence the 2018 midterm elections in the U.S., and OFAC alleged Thursday that this work continued.

“The IRA uses cryptocurrency to fund activities in furtherance of their ongoing malign influence operations around the world,” a press release said.

A separate release listed 23 crypto addresses as being added to OFAC’s sanctions list, meaning any U.S. person who tries to send or receive money from these accounts might be subject to criminal proceedings. The wallets contained a slew of cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ether, zcash, dash, bitcoin SV and litecoin, according to the OFAC press statement.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) separately charged Lifshits with wire fraud, alling he is part of “Project Lakhta,” an election interference effort based in Russia. According to the DOJ, Lifshits opened “fraudulent accounts” at banks and cryptocurrency exchanges by stealing U.S. citizens’ identities. The Secret Service assisted in the investigation as well.

This is not the first time government agencies have alleged that Russian operatives used cryptocurrency to interfere with U.S. elections: a group of military intelligence officers were indicted in 2018 for efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, including by hacking networks and email accounts used by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

At the time, then-deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the 12 indicted individuals used cryptocurrency to launder funds and pay for their activities.

OFAC has previously listed bitcoin, ether and litecoin addresses as part of its sanctions list, tied to individuals accused of running drugs and participating in ransomware attacks.

UPDATE (Sept. 10, 2020, 18:55 UTC): This article has been updated with a separate DOJ statement, which was published after OFAC’s releases.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/ofac-sanctions-election-interference

Blockchain

Coin Metrics Report Details Surges in ETH, Doge Trading

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Digital currency research firm Coin Metrics has released a new report claiming that bitcoin is beginning to lag when compared with the likes of competing altcoins such as Ethereum and Dogecoin.

Coin Metrics: Altcoins Are Taking Over

While bitcoin is still the world’s number one digital currency by market cap (it is currently trading for about $35,000 per unit), the asset has experienced some serious dips over the past month, while by contrast, Dogecoin and Ethereum have exhibited gains and are regularly moving up the digital ladder.

Coin Metrics garnered much of the information for its report by looking at data from Binance, arguably the largest and most popular crypto exchange on the planet in terms of daily trading volume. Additional statistics were gathered from exchanges such as Coinbase and FTX. Coin Metrics points out that thus far, 2021 has been the year for “smaller altcoins,” suggesting that a great many of them have surged heavily between the months of January and early May. From there, however, a serious crypto crash has taken precedence, with Coin Metrics unable to pinpoint what, exactly, might have been the cause.

For the most part, numerous altcoin pairs are offered on Binance, which explains why the company’s trading volume for many of the world’s smaller assets likely overtook that of bitcoin. The report says:

ETH volume surpassed BTC volume on Coinbase by a wider margin than on Binance. Coinbase did not offer Dogecoin trading in May (although they introduced it in early June), so it did not have a Doge rush similar with Binance, but it did have a relatively high amount of volume for some other altcoins, led by MATIC, ADA and Ethereum Classic (ETC)… Continuing the trend, ETH volume edged out BTC on FTX, although not by much, but comparatively, the top altcoins made up a lower percentage of total volume on FTX than on Binance and Coinbase.

Some of the world’s smaller exchanges – such as Huobi – also saw Ethereum and Dogecoin trading surge to levels beyond what people were doing with bitcoin. The report continues to say:

Similar with Binance, DOGE volume surged on Huobi, taking the spot as the third most traded currency by volume.

Bitcoin Hasn’t Been Fully Cut Out Yet

The only place – according to the document – where bitcoin trading appears to remain dominant at the time of writing is the CME in Chicago, Illinois. The company delves in bitcoin futures trading and has recently opened the door to ETH futures, though this is still in its early stages. Coin Metrics writes:

The markets continued to move mostly sideways over the last week. Bitcoin and Ethereum usage both stayed relatively flat, with daily active addresses dropping 2.5 percent and growing by 3.3 percent, respectively. Ethereum daily transaction fees dropped by over 35 percent week over week as gas prices continued to fall, and bitcoin transaction fees followed a similar pattern, dropping by 40.5 percent.

Tags: bitcoin, Coin Metrics, dogecoin, Ethereum Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.livebitcoinnews.com/coin-metrics-report-details-surge-in-eth-doge-trading/

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Bitcoin Taproot upgrade finally achieves activation lock-in!

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The much-anticipated Bitcoin Taproot upgrade passed the Speedy Trial, which was a signaling period which gauged support for the upgrade from bitcoin’s mining sector. Since SegWit, Taproot has been touted as the next significant upgrade for Bitcoin.

Data from Taproot.watch, a webpage created by Bitcoin developer Hampus Sjöberg, released an interesting yet hilarious video to announce the completion of the lock-in stage.

On the official page, it read:

“This period has reached 1815 Taproot signaling blocks, which are required for lock-in.”

Different mining pools tweeted their support for the upgrade on their respective platforms with Slush Pool being the first to do so.

AntPool also supported the upgrade.

What’s next?

Bitcoin core developer Pieter Wuille further elaborated on the path leading to the full activation step for Taproot in a series of tweets. He stated:

“As of block 687284, Taproot signalling has reached 1815 blocks this period, guaranteeing that absent very deep reorgs, it is guaranteed to lock in. Following that, it will activate at block 709632, probably around mid-November 2021.”

He also addressed that ‘there is a lot of work left of course’, which included:

a) PSBT extensions to communicate Taproot keys/scripts/signatures,

b) MuSig2 standardization so the software can cooperate in signing,

c) Output descriptors,

Why is it so important?

Fred Thiel, CEO of Marathon Digital Holdings stated:

“With this upgrade, you’ll see Bitcoin to be the settlement network. Funds are transferred from one institution to another, say one bank to another.”

He added,

“The update would lower the data size of smart contracts, in turn lowering transaction costs. Taproot is also expected to enhance smart contract functionality and efficiency.”

Jeremy Rubin, a Bitcoin Core contributor and founder of Judica projected a similar optimistic narrative,

“With taproot, you get optimization of Bitcoin, much different from how people know Bitcoin today- little too inefficient or reveal too much information about what you’re trying to do. Taproot helps to be private and efficient.”


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Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoin-taproot-upgrade-finally-achieves-activation-lock-in

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Next-Gen Decentralized NFT Platform, NEFTiPEDIA Announces Launch of its ICO In 3 Days

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Next-Gen Decentralized NFT Platform, NEFTiPEDIA Announces Launch of its ICO In 3 Days

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NEFTiPEDIA, a next-generation decentralized NFT platform that operates in a way that contributes to the elevation of digital artists, creators, and investors has announced the launch of its ICO which is set to happen in 3 days.

NEFTiPEDIA has designed a commission-free platform to enable its artists to maximize income, following its aim to help them increase revenue via NFTs.

Following NEFTiPEDIA’s plans to storm the marketplace while launching its ICO, it aims to serve the marketplace with different categories of products including cosmetics, vehicles and property.

“….we believe NEFTiPEDiA will become a community-run marketplace and the industry will make our project as a kind and remarkable one in the world,” the announcement reads.

The development will see the platform provide a decentralized marketplace for Artists, where they can sell and validate their NFT links to fans and interested buyers.

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NEFTiPEDIA Offers Exciting Prizes to Users

The team behind the project have allotted a total of 250,000,000 $NFT tokens for its users to enjoy in the upcoming ICO.

To further celebrate the intended development, the platform has proposed a referral scheme where winners can enjoy amazing and exciting prices.

Users who wish to participate in the program are required to sign up for the platform’s ICO panel and get a referral code.

The code can as well be shared with friends, giving users the opportunity to win exciting prizes.

A minimum of 5 referrals is required for participants to be considered for winning.

“Only those referrals ended in purchase will be added to the count. After the completion of ICO in 30 days, winners will be announced. Notably, winners will bear all the applicable tax.” The team further elaborated on the conditions for winning.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://zycrypto.com/next-gen-decentralized-nft-platform-neftipedia-announces-launch-of-its-ico-in-3-days/

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