There have been several predictions that see Bitcoin hitting a six-digit figure. On Sunday, this became a reality, very briefly, thanks to an algorithm.
Bitcoin futures topped at $99,964 on Binance over the weekend.
As Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said, this was just “another day in crypto.”
“We do have price band protection, but a user’s algo went ballistic and sent multiple orders to achieve this. We will likely have to adjust this chart a bit so that it’s readable in the future,” he said.
This might not be real this time, but some bitcoin enthusiasts are hopeful that this bull season will bring us $100,000.
“Cash and carry with bitcoin futures now yields 25%. September futures trade at a significant premium to spot, including on CME,” noted skew. “The industry is historically crypto rich and fiat poor, it seems USD are still challenging to source and will likely drive borrowing rates higher.”
A Tampa, Florida teenager has been accused of being the ”mastermind” behind the biggest hack on Twitter and has been placed under arrest.
17-year-old Graham Clark is facing 30 felony charges for “scamming people across America” that includes organized fraud, communications fraud, fraudulent use of personal information, and access to computer or electronic devices without authority.
The charges have been related to the July 15 incident when some of the big accounts including Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Kanye West among others were hacked to promote a Bitcoin giveaway scam. The scam was able to steal less than 13 BTC worth about $120,000.
“As a cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is difficult to track and recover if stolen in a scam,” the state attorney’s office said. The suspect behind the attack was found by the FBI and US Department of Justice after a “complex, nationwide investigation.”
IT Department Here
Twitter also released a statement thanking law enforcement for their “swift actions” while sharing further details about the attack.
We appreciate the swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses. For our part, we are focused on being transparent and providing updates regularly.
A small number of Twitter employees were targeted via a phone spear-phishing attack relying on “a significant and concerted attempt to mislead certain employees and exploit human vulnerabilities to gain access to our internal systems,” read the statement.
A total of 130 Twitter accounts were targeted — the hackers tweeted from 45 accounts, accessing the DM inbox of 36, and downloading the data of 7.
The Tempa teen allegedly convinced a Twitter employee that he worked in the Twitter IT department and tricked them into giving them the credentials, as per an affidavit released late Friday.
Clark will be prosecuted in Florida so he can be charged as an adult, “This was not an ordinary 17-year old,” said the state attorney who added,
“This could have had a massive, massive amount of money stolen from people, it could have destabilized financial markets within America and across the globe.”
“This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country.,”
“This massive fraud was orchestrated right here in our backyard, and we will not stand for that.”
Clark is just one of the three suspects, the other two were identified as 9-year-old Mason Sheppard from the UK and 22-year-old Nima Fazeli from Orlando.
Sheppard was found thanks in part to his driver’s license used to verify himself with crypto exchanges Coinbase and Binance. His accounts were also found to have sent and received some of the scammed BTC.
Similarly, Fazeli used a driver’s license to verify with Coinbase where accounts controlled by him allegedly received payments in exchange for stolen Twitter usernames.
Both are facing $250,000 fine and while Fazeli is facing five years in prison, Sheppard is being charged with wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy as well on top of computer intrusion as such facing a 20-year sentence.
Bitcoin is back on the move today. Volatility has been expected as options for 67,700 Bitcoin worth $745 million are expiring today.
Currently, the largest cryptocurrency is trading just under $11,400, up more than 3%, with over $2 billion in trading volume. In the past ten days, BTC has surged 24.5% that has resulted in the number of bitcoin addresses holding 1 million USD spiking by 38% to about 18,000.
Also, a whopping 93% of bitcoin’s supply is at a profit with the price at $11k.
Interestingly, BTC deposits at major exchanges continue to drop, which has been falling since March after the digital asset crashed along with the other asset classes. The deposits have currently reached the low-levels, last seen in May 2019, which suggests users prefer to store their BTC in private wallets. Moreover, it “may lead to a lower selling pressure the upcoming months.”
“Despite BTC’s recent surge to $11k, there are currently no signs of weak hands from long-term investors,” noted Glassnode. “Hodler Net Position Change remains positive since the end of March, with hodlers currently accumulating more than 50k BTC each month.”
However, Ki Young-ju, the CEO of on-chain analysis firm CryptoQuant, said whales have started to send Bitcoin and stablecoins to exchanges. He said,
“BTC whales are sending Bitcoins to exchanges. Stablecoin whales are sending stablecoins to exchanges as well. This week will be a battle between Stablecoin and Bitcoin exchange inflows. These inflows indicate potential buy/sell pressures.”
So Much HODling & Accumulation
Bitcoin gains are recorded amidst the amount of USDT flowing into exchanges spiking to yearly high. All the while, Tether continues to mint millions more USDT that “hints at increasing market demand and could potentially support further Bitcoin price appreciation,” states OKEx.
The exchange’s one-month futures annualized basis has also surged to as high as 27.67%, its highest level since late February. “Values above 20% indicate that traders are paying a very high premium on spots and using high leverage,” OKEx said.
Just this week, Bakkt recorded peak volume twice in a row while CME saw its open interest making new highs. Regarding the slow adoption of its bitcoin options product, CME Group continues to “work with both brokers and platforms to get them connected and up and running to facilitate trades with customers.”
Longfin, a now-defunct crypto firm that raised $27 million in 2017, has been ordered by a Manhattan federal judge to repay $223 million to its investors along with interest in the alleged security fraud case. Longfin acquired an undervalued company back in 2017, after which its share prices surged by 1000%.
The judgment came on July 29, where the federal judge concluded that Longfin, along with its chief executive Venkata Meenaalli, CTO Vivek Ratakonda, and the director of two related companies, Suresh Tammineedi collectively owned a nine-figure sum. The case’s ruling has granted a default judgment, as requested by lead plaintiff Mohammad Malik in January. The judge in his decision noted that Malik:
“offered sufficient evidentiary support through declarations and exhibits submitted in support of his claim for damages, and no evidentiary hearing is required.”
A Brief History of the Case
Longfin launched an IPO as a Regulation A+ offering back in September 2017, which allowed the firm to raise funds from both accredited and non-accredited investors. It also obtained waivers from several registration requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It went on to raise $27 million by December and called its IPO a successful event.
At the time, the firm also claimed that it had become the first publicly listed fintech firm under Reg A+ on Nasdaq. Soon after a successful IPO, Longfin acquired Ziddu.com, a cloud storage solution that claimed it had incorporated blockchain technology. The price of Longfin’s share surged by 1000% from $5 a share to $140 in early 2018. However, shareholders accused the company of issuing false and misleading statements, which led to the 1000% surge.
The firm is also accused of selling its shares after the surge, which prompted the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to look into the firm’s working and investigate any wrongdoing. The SEC started their investigation in April 2018, and soon after, the price of the shares crashed.
In September 2019, the SEC received a judgment in its favor against Longfin, where a New York federal court found that the crypto firm falsified documents and data to receive Regulation A+ offering.
The court also found that Longfin lied about primarily operating from the US and lied about qualifying shares and shareholders sold in the offering. The court found that $66 million in revenue generated by the firm came from “fictitious revenue and sham commodities transaction” equivalent to 90% of the company’s revenue.
The top economist of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) has been appointed as head of department overseeing research on central bank digital currencies (CBDC), as the central bank steps its efforts to join the race to embrace financial innovation.
Kazushige Kamiyama will be heading the payments and settlement department of BOJ, which has conducted joint research with other central banks on state-backed digital currencies and looked into how the growing presence of cryptocurrencies affect central banking.
As the central bank’s top economist, Kamiyama has spearheaded efforts to use big data in analyzing the economy, an approach that helped Bank of Japan catch real-time changes affecting the country’s economy amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
BOJ also shared that Seisaky Kameda will be succeeding Kamiyama as its top economist and head of the statistics department.
This move comes at a time when BOJ is working on testing a digital yen. Earlier this month, the central bank released a report about the technical hurdles for CBDC, where it discussed checking the feasibility of such digital money from a technical perspective and considering whether or not to use blockchain for it.
The bank also set up a task force a couple of weeks back that was said to belong to the BOJ’s payment and settlement systems department. The new team is looking more closely into the CBDC by following up on BOJ’s efforts, including joint research it has been conducting with other major central banks since January.
Japan has been cautious about its digital currencies approach, given that it has the most cash-loving population in the world. But the fact that China is making steady progress towards issuing its digital yuan, having chosen the companies to test the CBDC, it has prompted not just BOJ but other central banks and governments to look into the idea of issuing CBDCs more closely.
BOJ has said although it has no immediate plans to issue its own digital currency, it has been conducting research on the issue with other central banks.
Former Wirecard board member – Jan Marsalek, who has been in hiding for weeks, has fled to Russia with “significant” amounts of bitcoin stash, which he bought from Dubai where the company had dubious operations, according to a report by the German news outlet.
Marsalek had much interest in cryptocurrencies as earlier this month The Wall Street Journal noted:
“Mr. Marsalek liked engaging in late-night discussions about cryptocurrencies and their ability to move money without a trace.”
He is currently staying at a private house in the Moscow region under the supervision of the Russian military secret service GRU.
Last month, the head of Wirecard’s Dubia-based unit was arrested by the German prosecutors, and an arrest warrant was also issued for Masalek. But he escaped, leaving behind “a slew of false leads and clues as to whether he may be hiding,” including falsified immigrant records and airline bookings.
The company which operates crypto debit cards, filed for insolvency at the end of June after it was found to have $2.1 billion missing from the balance sheet.
This resulted in the crypto debit cards operated by the company getting frozen, and now crypto companies are looking for new partnerships.
The DeFi space has been picking up heat for some time now as the tokens gained a lot of interest after their prices skyrocketed.
In 2020 so far, some of the DeFi coins like Aave have jumped 3,185%, Kyber Network 898%, Bancor 498%, Loopring 493%, REN 445%, Synthetic 235%, 0x 112%, and Augur 101%.
In the past year, projects like Aave and Kyber Network have also gained 7,000% and 1,000% against BTC.
The market cap of Defi space has been flying, now close to reaching $9 billion. The total value locked in the sector is also hitting new highs, the latest one being $2.62 billion, as per Defi Pulse.
In the past few weeks, especially after Compound’s stellar performance following the listing of its governance tokens just days after launch on Coinbase, which is also backing the project, took the DeFi space by storm.
Many also argue that Defi’s gains are just recycled money, flowing from large-cap cryptos to these latest hot DeFi tokens, and no new money is entering into the sector.
A Long Journey Ahead for DeFi
“Real talk. There’s so much Defi FOMO but few talk about the elephant in the room: scalability,” said crypto analyst Qiao Wang. According to him, “latency and throughput are the biggest hurdles to Defi adoption,” and it will be a long journey for Defi.
“Most people seem to think that we’ll see exponential growth in the next few months/years. More likely than not, I think we’ll see step-function growth. Grow -> hit latency/throughput ceiling -> infra breakthroughs -> grow again,” Wang said.
Recently, DeFi’s biggest lending protocol Compound was integrated with Curve, a crypto custodian that services institutional investors while Aave, which has “become a DeFi VC darling” with the sale of $3M worth of LEND tokens to crypto funds Three Arrows Capital and Framework Ventures. Aave is dominating the long-tail lending market, with its AUM heavily weighted towards mid-cap digital assets.
“Aave is taking the Binance strategy to scaling while Compound seems to be taking the Coinbase strategy,” said Spartan Black, of crypto hedge fund The Spartan Group.
What Once the Craze is Over
It’s not only the price of Defi tokens that has captured people’s interest. The interest rates offered are just as lucrative, some offering higher than 10% yield on some digital assets.
But Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin said, “these interest rates do not reflect on anything that is remotely sustainable. It’s just a temporary promotion that was created by printing a bunch of compound tokens, and you can’t just keep printing compound tokens forever.”
According to him, once this craze is over, DeFi will no longer offer double digits interest rates but eventually come down on par with those offered in the traditional financial system.
While Buterin thinks synthetic assets would improve the space, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee isn’t “too excited” or optimistic about the future of DeFi.
The stock market has been flying, especially tech stocks, which makes sense because the sector is relatively less affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
One such stock is Tesla, which gained $108 billion in market value in two weeks. On Friday, TSLA surged 11% to close at a record $1,544.65 as investors bet demand for the electric-car maker’s vehicle remains strong.
Tesla cut prices for its electric SUV Model Y, the latest one with the lowered price, to attract buyers amidst the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are the Fundamentals?
In 2020, Tesla stock prices have jumped 230%, becoming the most valuable car company on the planet.
“Tesla’s valuation doesn’t make sense by any traditional measure,” said Ivan Feinseth of Tigress Financial Partners. However, “it is not a traditional company, so how do you put a traditional measure to it?”
According to economist and crypto trader Alex Kruger, Tesla stocks are looking like what he would expect bitcoin to look when it finally breaks above its all-time high of $20,000.
“When such breakouts occur, animal spirits take control, and all you know is that price will likely run a lot. Fundamentals don’t matter then.”
As Dan Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush, said, “What’s the fundamental value? If you have a million-mile battery, what does that add to the stock? … It comes down to scarcity. How do you play the EV market? … It all comes down to the P-word: profitability.”
Short the Short-Sellers
The price of Tesla shares spent about six years in the $200 – $300 range, and during that time, speculators continued “screaming ‘bubble.’” Tesla was also the most shorted stock in the Nasdaq, by the largest margin, noted Kruger stating, “(Tesla) needed a catalyst to break out of the range,” which was its Shanghai Gigafactory.
Even today, the company is set to become the first to hit a short interest level of $20 billion. And if the short squeeze happens, it could push the price even higher. Already, Tesla short-sellers have lost $18 billion this year.
In turn, Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased on Twitter, ‘Who wears short shorts?’, and said that, “Tesla will make fabulous short shorts in radiant red satin with gold trim,” and “Will send some to the Shortseller Enrichment Commission to comfort them through these difficult times.”
He launched the Tesla short shorts with “S3XY” emblazoned on the back and were so in demand that the website went down.
The Bubble of 2020
Amidst this uptrend, Musk has become richer than Warren Buffett and the world’s seventh-richest person. The 49-year old owns a fifth of Tesla’s outstanding stock that makes for $70.5 billion of his fortune while his majority of ownership for SpaceX accounts for about $15 billion.
Many, however, argue that Tesla is a bubble.
“Headlines remind me of Ripple in Dec/2017-Jan/2018. Too much hope in the air. The market is not taking risks into account properly. But at least Tesla produces cool cars, and has Elon at the helm,” said Kruger.
Overzealous Robinhood traders are the real culprits who are using the stimulus money to pump the stock while stuck at home due to lockdown with time and internet at their disposal.
These traders have been driving even the stocks of the bankrupt companies; recently, they pumped the “joke cryptocurrency” DOGE.
Tether, the creator of the leading stablecoin USDT, has been on a blacklisting spree and has blacklisted at least 39 Ethereum addresses since November 2017. Out of these 40 addresses, 25 have been blacklisted this year.
Philippe Castonguay, an Ethereum researcher, has created a dashboard that shows the number and list of addresses blacklisted by Tether up until now. All these blacklisted addresses would not be able to send or receive USDT, and the existing tokens in these addresses became useless. All the blacklisted addresses contain the millions worth of USDT and even one of the latest blacklisted address contain over a $1 million worth of tokens.
The million-dollar Ethereum address received 938,965 USDT tokens from Binance only last month. The owner of the address tried moving the funds the next day. It got blacklisted, but the transactions never went through.
Among all the blacklisted addresses, a majority of them contain around $100 USDT on average. However, the most valuable address consists of $4.5 million worth of USDT, along with 330,000 BUSD tokens and 13,500 ETH in it.
The blacklisting is mainly done if the address is suspected to be involved in any form of illegal or unusual activity and often on the request of authorities. As of right now, no one knows who owns these Ethereum addresses containing millions worth of cryptocurrencies.
Bitfinex, a sister company of Tether’s Stuart Hoegner the general counsel, commented on the recent slew of blacklisting and said,
“Tether routinely assists law enforcement in their investigations… Through the freeze address feature, Tether has been able to help users and exchanges to save and recover tens of millions of dollars stolen from them by hackers.”
Braver, a forked derivative from the privacy-focused browser Brave, has been compelled to change its name to Bold Browser following a legal suit from a ‘certain party.’ A brave top executive has since come forward insisting that they have had to defend their trademark.
Due to legal threats sent to one of our community members by a certain party, specifically looking to harm them financially because of what this browser is forked from, we are immediately changing the name and removing all association to “the browser that shall not be named”.
Following this move, Braver has since changed its name to Bold Browser, as announced on its official twitter. The post indicating that one of Braver’s community members had been threatened with financial harm was, however, not keen to highlight the party suing them.
Brendan Eich, Brave’s CEO, seemed to substantiate the allegations on his twitter, replying to a Brave user migrating to Braver. He insisted that Braver has to rename and get their infrastructure to support their fork. Further asserting that a trademark would be lost if not defended citing Mozilla and Firefox case.
“We defend our trademarks, just as Mozilla and all other trademark holders do … Open-source licensing does not grant a trademark license; the two are legally unconnected.”
Forks have been a popular concept in the open-source crypto sphere, with the community and developers’ not agreeing on the same protocol and policies on how the project should proceed. The Brave fork, now Bold, came about when Brave came under scrutiny after a user exposed a scheme that redirects users to Binance-affiliated links, all while gaining commissions.
On further inspection of their source code by the community, they found that more websites were in on the scheme, including Coinbase, Trezor, and Ledger. The CEO has since apologized on Twitter, highlighting that the dev-ops were working to eradicate all adware, including one’s focus on the Basic Attention Token (BAT). He, however, came out to defend Brave’s position stating that this was a feasible way of generating extra income for the browser.
Brave still has a chunk of its users intact, recording at least 15 Million monthly users and daily active users’ north of 5 million. The open-source browser has geared towards helping users privately secure their data.
The browser also incentivizes users to view their ads by rewarding them with their very own crypto BAT. This token is currently trading at $0.249669 with a market cap of $369,748,833, according to Coinmarketcap. In the last 24 hours, it recorded trading volumes of $125,014,729, with 1,480,958,645 BAT in circulation as per this writing.
Potential Chromium Fork
A Bold Browser contributor has now told Cointelegraph of a potential “un-googled” chromium fork for Bold instead of leveraging the Brave protocol. The source cited this was attributed to the fact that the initial Brave code was chaotic and would bring about challenges in the case of an update rather than the legal implications.
“We plan to make Bold a Chromium-based browser that contains the features that people expect from privacy-respecting ad-blocking browsers, with next-generation integrations (such as web3 and ipfs), without any advertising programs or token reward schemes.”